It could happen

This essay was found among my notes from our January visit to our twinning parish in Lalomas, Haiti. What’s strange is that I don’t remember writing it and, most problematically, I don’t recall the encounter it describes. So, where did it come from? I offer it with the trust that it did happen, or in the hope that it could happen.

He was, to be blunt, incessant. “Please, please,” he said. “Please!” He pointed at what I had while pointing at himself.

What I had was a half-empty bottle of cola. Or, in his eyes, a bottle that was half full. I ignored his pleas, as cold-hearted as that might have been. And, finally he walked away.

But, then returned.

“Please,” he said, again. Finally I relented and handed him the open bottle. He smiled and walked away. But, then returned. “Cap,” he said, pointing to the bottle’s red cover resting on my knee. He knew more English than I’d thought.

I gave him the cap. He smiled again and walked over to some friends watching a soccer game. Without taking a sip himself, he poured a little bit into his friend’s mouth. Then allowed another to take a swig. Finally he finished off what little was left. His friends watched the last brown drops fall into his mouth.

They walked away and he came back to me. For more? He stood in front of me and smiled. “Thank you, Jesus,” he said. “Thank you, Jesus.”

A cynic might suggest he was being manipulative or insist that he didn’t really understand what he was saying. Regardless, he was far more like Jesus than me. He’d eagerly helped to sate the thirst of two friends, while I’d quite reluctantly shared with just one.  TL



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