In a document made public the other day by
There was the school cafeteria worker who spotted me leaving early on the impression that the school day was over and it was time to catch the trolley home. She came running to turn a confused little boy around and point him in the right direction.
There was the woman and well of patience who spent much of her summer in a
There was the boy who got in too much of a hurry and chose to take a shortcut to work by crawling underneath a stalled freight train when it suddenly lurched forward, amputating his legs and leaving him maimed for life. But not a word of complaint ever escaped his tightly sealed lips. No wonder he was inclined to drink more than a little too much on Saturday nights as he proceeded to become my immigrant father's faithful retainer for the rest of his days. For in a way they were both strangers in a strange land.
There was the old Jew in the front pew of an old synagogue crammed to overflowing with holy texts. He would refer to them continually as the rabbi and other leaders of the synagogue led the prayers, but without presuming to interrupt them with any remarks of his own. For he knew he belonged down with the scattered faithful who showed up every Saturday morning for Sabbath prayers, and would never presume to stand out among the believers. His name may have been recorded only by G od, and that was more than enough for him, for he would never dream of bringing himself to the attention of the Holy One, blessed be His name.
There was the Old Lady in Black, who together with her husband ran a notions store up the street and who had lost her son in the confused opening years of the Second World War, and would shrink back in the shadows of their shop when people passed by. Her silence spoke untold volumes, even as her presence in our small, tightly knit community testified to His eternal presence among us all.
Were these creatures saints walking among us, or angels? Let's leave such distinctions to learned doctors of theology, but their company is unenviable to those who can feel them moving among us, illuminating our existence. Custom cannot stale their infinite variety, or what a blessing they remain.
Lest we forget, sainthood, like charity, begins at home, before our own hearths and in our own dreams and visions, in the bosom of the inexhaustible family. For where there is no vision, as the Good Book tells us, the people perish. But in G od's beloved community, our young men and women will go on dreaming dreams and seeing visions. Was the figure who took me to the edge of the broad sidewalk along