By Chris Chowdhury:
Where do you go at 10pm on a Sunday night for take-out? I’ll tell you where I go: Duly’s Place! In my opinion, they’ve got the best coneys in town – hands down – and they’re open 24/7. I grew up on the Southwest side of Detroit, and Duly’s has always been a family favorite.
One recent Sunday night, craving that familiar taste, I found myself standing at the same counter I’d been too short to see over as a kid. I greeted Maio, the friendly and hard-working server on the other side, and ordered some coney’s just how I like them: chili, mustard, no onions. After taking my order, Maio, in a feat of great strength and poise, laid four hot dogs on his forearm and generously slung piping hot chili over them. Not a drop reached his arm – nothing wasted. It’s all for the customer!
I’m always a happy customer at Duly’s, but I was caught off guard by something this time. While waiting, a man about my age stepped up to the front door and asked me if I had a light. I don’t smoke, and don’t carry a lighter, but looking to be helpful, I leaned over the counter and scanned for a lighter to no avail. Turning back to the man at the door, I said, “Sorry, there’s no lighter here.” He didn’t hear me at first so I repeated, “Sorry man, I don’t have a light.” As though I’d disrespected him deeply, the man looked straight back at me and called me a name I haven’t heard for a long time.
A chill ran down my spine. I’m a nice guy, and nice guys don’t get called names like that – especially over a lighter! Turns out coming to my old stomping ground wasn’t as pleasant as I thought. I’m not a kid anymore, I thought. I’m an outsider here.
What I was reminded of, as I continued waited after the incident, is that there are places hope is absent from. There is darkness in this world, and as we move about life, preoccupied with our physical needs, that darkness can take hold. As any city-dweller knows, walking the streets at night is not always a stroll. There is desperation out there, and those are the places hope is missing.
And this is what makes living out hope so vital. Hope is light that pushes out the darkness. Hope doesn’t quit – it’s 24/7 (like Duly’s). Insults don’t stick to hope – they only give greater cause to hope.
We that believe in Christ can never back down from hoping for change. We dispense the hope, but He’s our source, even when we’re on the receiving end of the ills of our city.
Are you prepared to be the hope at times when it’s absent?