Coffee with Cathy

I don’t even know her last name.  I only know that when I sat down at a table in Community Missions on Wednesday morning she was there, stirring sugar into a styrofoam cup full of creamy coffee.  I watched her take the first sip and saw her face relax into a smile.

“That’s good, isn’t it?” I said.  “I love that first sip of coffee.”

“Oh, yes,” she said.  “It warms me all the way down.”  There was a moment’s pause while she took another sip and then she said, “Except my feet.”

“Your feet?” I asked.

“I can’t feel my feet,” she said.

My thermometer read 24 degrees when I got up on Wednesday morning.  It had warmed up a little since then, but not much, and Cathy (bless her heart) had been standing outside with the others, waiting till we opened our doors, till she could come in and get a cup of hot coffee and a pastry. 

Oh, and one other thing: a shower.

“My feet will be all right when that warm water hits them,” she said, “but right now I can’t feel them.  It was cold last night.”  And then she took another sip of her coffee and left me to wonder: When was the last time I had stood outside in the cold till my feet went numb, and when had I ever been as grateful for a cup of coffee, or a hot shower?

I don’t want to take those things for granted as I approach Thanksgiving this year, and this year, especially, I want to be thankful for a church that provides hot showers for the homeless.

I know Cathy is.