Welcome to Day 28 of HopeSpeaks: 30 Stories in 30 Days.  Learn more about the HopeSpeaks campaign and submit your story here!   See all HopeSpeaks stories here!

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?

10 Responses to “Day 28: Insults and Perfect Coneys”

  1. such a good reminder; hope isn’t just FOUND in the city, but it’s something that we bring to it.

    I probably don’t live very far from this place. I need to hit it up. I’ll be sure to bring a light.

    Did you see what I did there?

  2. Duly’s is so good! And yes, what a great reminder. There is hope in this city, but we bring the most important hope there is – Jesus! And maybe you should start carrying a lighter… 😉

  3. Great story! We have a lot of work to do here in Detroit. There are so many people who need Hope.

    And please, whatever you do, don’t start carrying a lighter (or a bottle opener). If you had one that night, you would not have had the chance to show the man, who called you the name, the love of Christ. You didn’t react or call him names in response. Instead, you forgave and let the Light shine through you to all who witnessed the event.

  4. So true, we have to be hope, not get discouraged. Awesome reminder.

  5. sometimes its hard to maintain hope when something like this happens, when it seems like someone just stomps all over your hope – but thats when you realize you just have to work a little harder to show love to those people who have no idea how loved they REALLY are!

  6. what a great story of how much God has changed you and your life! What a great story of how we should never stop bringing hope everywhere we go!

  7. I’ve never been to Duly’s… ever! This is YOUR fault Chris!

    Maybe next time?! I’ll bring the lighter (and the HOPE)!

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