Very Rev Sean Dooley PP
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Spirituality / Liturgy
Childrens Corner


Wilfred Reynolds, a Christian writer from Illinois, tells of being in the public library one day when he was disturbed by a woman at a nearby table who was talking to herself in loud tones and gesturing freely. She didn’t appear to be focused on anything in particular, but her tone became more and more strident. Clearly, the woman was not in touch with reality. Eventually the woman got up and left, making little chopping motions with her hands, as though giving a speech.

It happened that while all this was taking place, a young man came in, sat down at the same table with Reynolds and saw what was going on. This young man had a physical handicap — probably cerebral palsy — which contorted his facial features and made him walk with difficulty.

After the ranting woman left, there was an awkward moment that seemed to invite comment. Reynolds turned to the young man and said, “I imagine people like that have a lot of loneliness. It’s likely they need human companionship an awful lot, but probably drive it away. It’s a vicious circle.”

At that moment, seeing the physical difficulties of the young man, it dawned on Reynolds that it was insensitive to address those remarks to this particular person. But the young man responded:

Everybody has their problems. But every time you stand up under a hard experience, you're a little tougher and better able to handle the other things down the road. The trouble is, lots of people give up too easily. They give up and get buried under it, and they expect someone else to solve their problems for them. If God wants anything for people, God wants them to keep going. I think that’s where God’s inspiration comes in, in knowing that God wants you to keep trying ... no matter what.

The man then added, “Don’t give up. Don’t you give up.”

Reynolds writes that he didn’t know how the young man knew he – Reynolds – needed to be encouraged just then, but somehow he did. (“The Fabric Within,” Friends Journal, March 15, 1982).
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