Hidden in places people tend to avoid are people and smaller spaces that will change your life for the better. Places and people who would leave us incomplete had we never seen or met them. I wrote this originally in my note book while sitting in Uncommon Grounds Cafe in Aliquippa, PA. Paintings hang on the walls from local artists. It is alive with conversations from the fifteen or so people utilizing the space, and music praising the name of Jesus play in the background. The Quip is a town in western PA, that in my experience is unfairly avoided by the surrounding towns. A town with a reputation for violence and drugs. However, it is a town that taught me to receive love. A town that reached out to me while I was jobless.
This Cafe was built for this purpose. The idea was to create a place that can help people heal by first allowing them space to be wounded. So, being broken from poor decisions and hopeless and jobless I started coming to the cafe and would leave a little better than I showed up. I cant tell you how many times I came to the cafe to try to do some work to justify my existence. I would scrape together a dollar so I could buy a cup of coffee and have enough change left over for a refill and end up being given a meal that was “accidentally” made twice. The operator, having seen my brokenness but also my pride, must have known it would have been too much for me to take a free meal.
While being back at the cafe, just passing through, I was moved almost to tears because of the love I was shown. The beginnings of healing started there. You never know how a little gesture of love will help someone. Uncommon Grounds is part of my inspiration for creating jobs and education programs. The cafe gave what it was made for and now it’s my turn to give what I was made for. And so, any success I may have moving forward will always be shared with Uncommon Grounds.
“Whatever you did for the least of these you did for me.”
Thank you John Stanley and Uncommon Grounds
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