Friday, September 20, 2013

Some things seem strange, and are, but really are not

You know, sometimes people do things that seem strange, and are, but at the same time aren't.
We went to visit an elderly couple for the first time last week here in Sicily. They had never received seminarians like us but when I called she was open to meeting us. So we arrived, rang, and, as the Gospel says, the door was opened to us. The house was set back behind the gate about twenty yards and as we entered we saw Mr. and Mrs. near the house approaching us. We greeted them and immediately he positioned himself between myself and the other seminarian, took us each by the arm, and walked with us to the house. It was a first-time, unexpected, and rather uncomfortable experience, given that I just met this man. How could I have known at that moment their sufferings, their difficulties, their burdens? How could I have known about their daughter who, along with her husband and their grandkids, had totally abandoned them, moving away and cutting all communication? How could I have known the joy, in the midst of this their continual ache, that our simple visit could bring? They were so happy that, 45 minutes later as we departed, they insisted and insisted we come for lunch our next visit. In addition, they insisted that we take two bags full of fruit that they had gathered from their fields. They accompanied us to the gate, gave us five euro for a cafè along the way, and saw us off until we were out of sight.

Taking us both arm-in-arm seemed strange to me, and it was, but in the end it really wasn't.

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