I want to share with you a true story; one that happened to our family a while back. The story is about a young girl who touched our lives and I hope her story touches you as well.
Her actions brought to mind a quote from Martin Buber: "Everything is waiting to be hallowed by you; it is waiting to be disclosed in its meaning and to be realized in it by you...Meet the world with the fullness of your being and you shall meet God."
No one knew this 26-year-old woman when she came to Eddie’s funeral. She was a stranger to the family and a stranger to Eddie until she found his body at the scene of the hit and run accident that instantly killed him.
Eddie was killed while riding his motorcycle. He was blindsided by a teenage driver who ran a stop light – smashed into Eddie – and sped away.
She came upon the accident when Eddie was already dead; his body still in the road. The police and EMTs would eventually come and cover up the body while they proceeded with their investigation.
She said she came to the funeral to let the family know that Eddie did not die alone. “I had to stay with him” she said. “I knew he was somebody’s brother; somebody’s son, somebody’s father and I couldn’t leave him there alone. I stayed with him for two hours before they took him away, and I just prayed. I prayed for him and I prayed for his family. I knew that if he was my brother or my father, I’d want someone to stay with them.”
What a profound act of Grace. A young girl prays that a stranger’s soul will pass swiftly into the welcoming arms of God. She prays that the family will somehow find peace in this tragedy. And then – one step further – she searches out and attends the funeral in order to help bring a sense of peace to the grieving family.
Clearly this young woman met the world with the fullness of her being and touched us all with the presence of God.
God comes to us in ways that are both big and small. Sometimes he is a whisper in our hearts while at other times we are awestruck by how forcefully he enters our lives. I like to believe that this young woman listened to God’s whisper in her soul and that her tender heart allowed God to manifest himself to the rest of us who are too deaf or too full of our own ego needs to sense his presence among us.
I pray that each of us learns to find the fullness of our being and bring the presence of God to those we meet and touch every day.
Michael Soika has been a community activist for more than 30 years working on issues of social and economic justice. His work for justice is anchored by his spiritual formation first as a Catholic and now as a Quaker.