Thursday, January 22, 2009

Meeting Strangers

"You wonder if you can ever make a difference", she said after a pause, a distant look in her eyes. "You do it week after week, and you wonder if you should stop. What good does it do. Well: one day, a young lady came over to us, and I braced for the usual sharp criticisms. The woman started to talk to me. She said that that five years ago, she was going to enter the very building we were praying in front of; when she got there, she saw us. She read our signs, thought one last time, hesitated, then turned around and went home. 'I couldn't go through with the abortion', she said. 'Now I'd like you to meet my five-year old daughter', and that's when I noticed the shy little girl standing there, holding her hand.

"So you just never know."

She was a stranger to me the morning I met her, but overcoming the usual shyness I have with strangers, we got to talking, and at a later meeting one of my questions led to the above story as a response. I can recount the story with words, but I can't find the means to duplicate the look in her eyes as she told it to me. It was unforgettable, to see her eyes seeing an act of faith fulfilled. But then, the look is not so rare, is it... We see it renewed every time a mother holds their new-born child, a blessed gift of hopes and dreams, given human shape. A stranger, but only for a moment; a stranger, but there will be a lifetime to meet the person that the child is in the constant process of becoming.

It pays to meet strangers... you never can know which of them can teach you about life's most important lessons, about choosing to act on faith, and to live in hope for a better future.

This week, and today especially, is a good time to reflect on that truth...

[thanks to Suzanne at Big Blue Wave for the video]

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