Children pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary for peace and mercy in a photo of three life-size statues in a quiet church courtyard. Despite some obvious Western and Caucasian features, they could be from many times or places in human history. What happens to one of us happens to us all; we are at one time or another each others’ children, intertwined, family, responsible for each other, this has always been true.
I usually run the story below right before Christmas because that is when it happened, but I want to share it today. We can take this painful moment, watching the funerals of children and wondering at the motives of a madman, and turn it into something truly beautiful if we look at each other with peace in our hearts and vow that we will be observant of each others’ needs.
Before you begin, let me tell you that this really happened, and I actually took notes immediately after so I wouldn’t lose any of the details. It is recounted through my perceptions, but the actions described here really did happen. It was one unforgettable moment.
On a dark, misty, not-quite-raining Sunday afternoon just before Christmas, I walked across an uneven, wet parking lot toward Dollar Tree, my mission: three or four pairs of 2.75 or 3.0 reading glasses that I could leave around the house or carry with me as need be since I was recently finding myself unable to read smaller text. I’d probably also pick up some other one-dollar-doodads that I really didn’t need.
It wasn’t cold, just dreary, especially since we had had a very pretty snow a few days before that had mostly melted leaving piles of dirty ice in parking lots and cinders and salt on the streets and caked on cars.
Ahead of me I saw an older woman emerge from the passenger side of a neat, clean silvery sedan parked near the end of the row and close the door, leaving someone, presumably her husband, behind the steering wheel.