Laundry Love Siloam Spring... the stories from a little laundromat in Siloam Springs never cease to amaze. The following is one of those stories from Mark who has been coordinating the Siloam Spring Laundry Love from the beginning. These are Mark's words... I don't think either of us planned to meet that night, but we both needed it.
He was just there trying to clean some clothes covered with glass and dirt, I showed up hoping to make a connection with someone.
I noticed him sorting clothes as I walked in and asked if we had met before, he answered "I don't think so".
"I'm Mark" I replied; "I'm superman" he quickly answered.
Two hours later I knew that "Superman" was only a label the media had given Chris, a man who woke up a week ago to a horrific sound, and seconds later was hanging on to his bedpost as a tornado ripped through his house.
He said he kept his eyes open because he wanted to see the end, but miraculously found himself alive in a pasture, across the street from his now flattened house.
He showed me the scars and wounds where splinters are working their way to the surface, but it was obvious by his eyes that the questions and the pain are buried far deeper.
Chris doesn't like to ask for help, so we agreed to trade quarters, he put one in, and then I dropped in my quarter. What he did need was someone listen. He told me later it was getting old talking to the steering wheel of the car he was borrowing.
I've never met someone like Chris. Someone for whom I instantly felt depth of compassion I can't take credit for. To be honest, I don't know what you say to someone who just lost about everything, so I begged God to give me the wisdom to not say more than was needed.
He started the next washing machine and we just started to talk. We talked about his son who he dearly loves, talked about sacrifices he's made to drive a truck all over the country, talked about the hurt in his family, and the joy of watching friends come help dig out what was left of his stuff. We talked about hopes of finding a trailer to live in while he figures out how to rebuild.
We talked about what those few seconds did to his view of a God he's now not sure even exists. I understood, I'm pretty sure I'd have the same questions.
As the night came to a close he said we could pray together, and I was thankful to help carry his clothes out to the little red car that for now is "home".
What I love most about laundry love goes beyond plugging quarters and folding clothes (as important as that is), what I love most about laundry love is that it's a place you can hear Superman's story, and find a friend named Chris.
If you would like to participate in serving the under-resourced in our community through Laundry Love, please visit the Laundry Love initiative webpage for more information.