Tuesday, April 10, 2007



There is a young man riding on a bus, on his way from Conyers, Georgia to Buffalo, New York. It is a long ride. His name is Eric and he stayed with us here at the monastery for many weeks. Eric worked and prayed with us during the time he was here. He is a quiet man. I got to know him better when we worked at bonsai together. He has spent a lot of time working in Catholic Worker houses in different parts of the country and I liked listening to his stories from those experiences. There is something special about him – he has a gift for living in the present moment and traveling light. He does not have a lot of baggage.

I will miss him. It saddened me to say good-bye to him yesterday. In the brief time that he was with us, he imparted a lot of goodness just by being who he is and sharing where he has been.

These coming weeks will have a lot of post-resurrection stories. One of my favorites is the gospel that tells of the disciples on the road to Emmaus. They walk with Jesus and yet do not recognize him until the breaking of the bread, and in that recognition, which comes as gift, their hearts awaken with a fire that enkindles them with joy. It is a beautiful story about the presence of Jesus in all of our lives – how we walk with him all the time, presenced as he is in people and celebrated in the sharing of bread and stories.

Eric may be sleeping now, his head resting against a bus window as the bus moves north, making its way toward Buffalo. I hope he had a good stay here with us. I told him yesterday that I hope he returns some day. He smiled when I said that and said that he would try and come again.

I wonder who is seated next to him on the bus. Maybe they will share stories about life, and perhaps some food. And I like to think that Jesus will be there as well, in the sharing and the telling. When Eric told me stories, I felt good about life. He has a way of seeing life and loving it. He came as gift and moved on, leaving a lesson of genuine grace.