So I stop at the gas station as I am leaving for the drive back to seminary today, and the gangly young man who waits on me is as spacey as he was last week. I wonder in exasperation if any transaction here is ever handled with the slightest modicum of efficiency.
"So," I say, "you're kinda havin' a goofy week."
"Yeah. . ."and then he brightens: "This is my last day here!"
I think this is probably a good move on his part.
"So, what's next for you?"
"Well, I'm taking three weeks off, and then I'm going into the Navy, so Boot Camp is next."
Now all thoughts of efficiency (not to mention the cost of the gas I just put in my car, which is actually relevant to the ensuing conversation) have vanished from my pea brain. I am 100% attentive to the very -- VERY -- young man in front of me.
We establish that he is 19, a recent graduate of a local Catholic boys' high school, has nine weeks of basic ahead of him in Chicago and then probably school in Pensacola, hopes to work on software security, and has signed on for six years in the hopes of landing a good job assignment.
And that his name is Stephen.
I wish him the best of luck and tell him that he will be in my thoughts, which he will. I'm not too sure about how kind this world is to the Stephens out there.
I feel very much like the mom of young people I am.