John and Karen Still

John and Karen Still

When I heard the news, my heart sank… not too much time lapsed and I thought of my mom. The two of them didn’t have a whole lot in common other than they both worked for the same company. Although it’s been a longer than four decades since my mom pulled the night shift at the convenience store… and she’s still alive.

The Circle K convenience store and gas station is on the northwest corner of two main roads just west of the Deer Valley airport and about a mile and a half from my office.

The truth is I avoid that mini-market like the plague – it’s hard to get into and often even harder to get out of. If there was any saving grace in the frustrations of the comings and goings for in-a-hurry-patrons, it was the guy behind the counter, the man named John.

While the market is part of the neighborhood, it was John that made it personal. The block walls, glass, freezers, gas pumps, and cash register make it a place of business – John and the regulars made it a community.

It’s a comforting thing, community. We come to count on the folks in our everyday walks of life almost as much as we do the essential products or services they provide. The interaction we share over time enriches our lives and turns strangers into acquaintances and sometimes even friends.

There can be treasures in the day to day transactions that most of us take for granted… and a broken heart when the treasure is stolen. That’s what I sensed in the eyes and words of some of my friends that knew John well.

The gift and treasure of John’s life was snatched by a customer that didn’t want friendship or friendly banter… he wanted cash… and shot John multiple times to take whatever green pieces of paper were in the cash register.

The man arrested for John’s murder wasn’t thinking about John. He never stopped to consider or take that time to find out about John’s disabled wife. The robber didn’t try to learn that John was the sole caregiver for his wheelchair-bound wife… or the fact that John worked at the store to support them and wouldn’t have the luxury of a life insurance policy.

The only thing the person who pulled the trigger had on his mind was himself. He was looking for a shortcut in life at someone else’s expense. It didn’t matter if it was a mega corporation or a workin’ man’s life.

It doesn’t take a detective to figure out that this is a fallen world we live in. We’re all weak in different ways in this flesh. I won’t be surprised when we find out that the killer was on drugs. A weakness made even weaker…

The common denominator for all of our weaknesses is the feeding of our selfish nature. God help us – literally, and may He lift up John’s family.

This is an opportunity to learn from the example of John Still’s life, to engage in other folks lives like he did… and a little less in our obsessions.

John’s friends have set up a fund to help care for Karen, John’s widow. Click here if you feel led, and please send up a prayer on her behalf.