Year of Pleasures: The kindness of strangers

St Jude

My friend Regina and I were enjoying a beautiful summer day by eating at a local sandwich shop and sitting outside at a little cafe table. Regina is a more protective mom than I have learned to be, so we tease each other all the time about that. She has a heart attack when Atti pushes up to balance on the two back wheels of his chair, I shrug my shoulders and say, “He’ll learn what happens when he doesn’t listen to his mama.” This day Atti was wheeling all around the patio, slaloming between the other tables, threatening to roll out into traffic, and giggling at Regina’s distress. I showed him exactly how far he was allowed to go and called him back when he crossed that line, and he listened. It was awesome. It was just how any little precocious 5 year old would act while he’s stuck at a grown up lunch.

Just before we were getting ready to leave, an old man came up to our table and handed me this little medal. He pointed to Atticus and said, “That’s for your little guy. God bless.” And walked away. I thanked him sweetly while the color rose in Regina’s face. When he was safely out of earshot she asked, “Does that bother you? A stranger coming up and saying he’s an impossible cause?” I got where she was coming from, it was defensiveness borne out of a ferocious love for this little guy. She calls Atti “our boy” and loves him like he really is one of hers. She knows exactly what he’s capable of and how indomitable his little spirit is, and isn’t going to let anyone say anything different.

But I was really moved. I’m always moved when someone wants to share a sincere expression of their faith and love with me, and that’s what I felt from that sweet man. Atti really is up against a pretty daunting challenge. I think he can take all the prayers and hope and kindness anyone is willing to extend to him. And then I think he’s going to show that the only impossible cause is betting against him.