Our song selection for today on the Johnny’s Cafe jukebox is “Talking Faces.” Take a couple minutes to listen to it. It’s about three typical people who could be in anyone’s Johnny’s Cafe, and an imaginary look into what could be behind each face. Assuming there is a story behind every face, it takes a sensitivity to know that, and a caring interest to maybe even crack open that story when the time is right.
For nine years Marti poured coffee for United Airlines as a flight attendant. It wasn’t Johnny’s but in some ways it was similar. People seem to want to talk to whoever pours them coffee. It put her in a place to be extra special aware of the stories behind people’s faces. One such story happened not on a plane, but in an airport while waiting for her own flight home. Here is what she remembers about that encounter.
Once while in the airport, I overheard a father and daughter in their last moments together. They had announced her plane’s departure and standing near the door she said, “Daddy, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Daddy.”
They kissed good-bye and she left. He walked over toward the window where I was seated. Standing there, I could see he wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on his privacy, but he welcomed me in by asking,
“Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?”
“Yes, I have,” I replied.
Saying that brought back memories I had of expressing my love and appreciation for my Dad and all he had done for me. Recognizing that his days were limited, I traveled to his home in Florida to tell him face to face how much he meant to me. So I knew a little of what this man was experiencing.
“Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever good-bye?” I asked.
“I am old and she lives much too far away. I have challenges ahead and
the reality is, her next trip back will be for my funeral,” he said.
“When you were saying good-bye I heard you say, ‘I wish you enough’.
May I ask what that means?”
He began to smile.
“That’s a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone.”
He paused a moment and looking up as if trying to remember it in detail, he smiled even more. “When we said ‘I wish you enough’, we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with enough good things to sustain them.”
He continued, and then, turning toward me, he shared the following as he recited it from memory:
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish enough ‘Hellos’ to get you through the final ‘Good-bye’.”
Then he began to cry, and before he turned away I put my hand on his shoulder and said with tears coming into my own eyes as well, “You have enough,” I said, “and His name is Jesus.”
“I know,” he brightened, “I know. Thank you!”