Who is your neighbor?

I had just left my spiritual director yesterday and was feeling at one with the universe but when I returned to where I had parked my car I couldn’t believe my eyes. There was a side mirror and smashed glass on the ground, the whole driver side and passenger side door was scrapped and the car itself now at an angle, had one wheel on the sidewalk. Not what I was expecting. I was definitely discombobulated!

A man who approached me saying he had witnessed the whole incident from the window of a nearby apartment. A hit and run driver had hit his car, my car and the one just ahead of mine.  He had already called the police but since that was half an hour ago and no one had come, I called them too. Together we waited in the cold for the police to arrive.

As we waited we talked. The man told me he was visiting a sick friend when he heard the noise of the crash and came racing out and tried to chase the car which had driven off on only three tires! The fourth was still lying in the road.

The man told me he was from Syria, a refugee who will in a couple of weeks become a citizen. He is a Muslim and his wife a Christian. He told me he wants his children to know there is a God who cares for them. His children go to the Mosque with him on Fridays and then to Church with their mother on Sundays.

When the police arrived this kind man waited while I checked out if my car was drivable, which alas it was not so he gave me a ride home. I was really grateful. On the way we discovered we are neighbors. He and his family live just a couple of streets way.
Amid the distress of this incident it was such a blessing for me to receive this gift of kindness from a stranger who turns out to be a neighbor all along.

…And who is your neighbor?

Isabel Rafferty OP
Madison, WI


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