Wisdom From a Stranger

There I sat in an Italian bakery off of Rosecrans and Cañon, Bible open, textbooks stacked in front of me, coffee in my left hand, when an older, shaggy, and slightly disheveled but friendly man adorned with a blue hat commented on what I was reading, “You need the strength from that book before you can get through all your homework, huh?” Sharing a smile of agreement, I turned toward him as he took a seat, not in the open chair across from me but one at the table adjacent, making conversation open but not forced.

As others bustled around us, remaining engrossed in their own thoughts, we stepped out of our routine to allow for conversation between a 20-year-old college student and a 50-something-year-old vagabond looking for a new home. This generational collision allowed for vibrant conversation, and in being the self-designated listener I was able to glean much wisdom from this older man who had seen much of the world, felt his fair share of pain and loss, and found joy as he traveled to different places, all the while looking for a place that a single, childless, 50-somethings could make a home.

This man quickly became a friend, a friend named Johnston, who left me intrigued by his story but also intrigued about people in general. In all of his years of dating and traveling the world he left me with this statement: “Men and women need each other. One is not complete without the other. Women give 90% into a relationship, but that is only 10% of what they have to offer. Men give 10% into a relationship, but that is 90% of what they have to offer. So together, they make 100%. Neither one would be complete without the other one. That is why we were made for companionship.”

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