The Business of Hope

A few years ago I was sitting inside a coffee shop in downtown Asheville, North Carolina. It was a cold December, and the year had culminated in a series of inexplicable hardships that can only be remembered with profound sadness. The World Coffee CafĂ© was unusually crowded on this blistery morning, as the costumers lined up to receive their steaming mugs of overpriced caffeine. 

Two men began a conversation as the line shuffled toward the counter. The first man commented to the older gentleman behind him about a book in his hand. He began a preemptive self-endorsement about his expansive collection of books, his recently acquired law degree, and his (apparently) successful career. 

The brief conversation was mostly one-sided, loaded with personal pronouns and vain humility. After a few nods and a kind smile, the older gentleman was finally asked, “And what kind of business are you in?” 

The two men probably didn’t mean to hijack the crowded room, but a diverse audience absorbed the small talk like a sponge. The older gentlemen responded with a quiet confidence, “I’m in the business of giving people hope.”

And everyone leaned in to hear more…

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