Saturday, January 16, 2010

To Live In Grace

This week I had a surprise that brought me to tears. A former student of mine knocked on the door of my classroom the other afternoon while I was teaching. Now, this student was not the top student nor the most likable. Not a student most teachers would like to have a visit from but, this student left school near the end of his Sophomore year never to return. He has a rare blood disease that he has battled for the past two years. He has lost the sight in one eye and many other side effects due to the experimental treatments he has been receiving.

I have been keeping up with him via the baseball coach. This young man loved baseball with all his heart and soul. This past year he was very low and he nor his parents, or friends thought that he would make it very long. The other day the baseball coach had mentioned that this young man would be at school for a short visit. I thought that I would not be able to see him. I heard the knock and opened the door and there he was, that young man whom I butted heads with. I was so surprised that I was speechless. I gave him the biggest, gentlest hug. I had very few words and I know that he realized that our head butting did not prevent me from caring about him and keeping up with him via the baseball coach. It was only a few minutes but it made my entire week, month, year. Needless to say that it was difficult to return to instruction and I was happy that the period was about to end. My other students began to ask who that was and when I said his name they were all quiet. This was the young man that we had been praying for as a school and in my class from time to time. They realized how special this moment was.

I have been teaching my students about the sacraments, grace, rituals, symbols and liturgy the past two weeks. The knock on the door was the knock of grace, a sacramental moment. That the grace of life transcends all other differences. And just as the people of Haiti are now struggling to survive the world is full of grace to help those who have lost everything and are in the "valley of the shadow of death". To live our lives gracefully would certainly have the power to transcend all differences. The young man at my door and the people of Haiti call us to be our best possible selves, to live in grace.

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