Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Share God's Unconditional Love With Everyone

Late one night last September, I walked through the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York, tired and eager to be on my last bus home. A young man approached me with a worried look upon his face, a bus ticket in his hand, and a challenge – he and I understood different languages.

I was able to discern that he was lost and needed to find his way to the bus that would carry him home to the comfort and security of loved ones. His ticket was stamped to Paramus New Jersey, so I motioned for him to walk with me and we set off to find his departure gate. A request for assistance from an officer yielded little more than being sent off in the direction of a pointed finger, so I asked a gentleman who was waiting on line for his own last bus home where to find this particular gate. He explained in detail where it was and off we went, but only to encounter locked doors as the building was slowly closing down. We backtracked and paused for a moment to try to find our way. I’m not familiar with the caverns of this structure, and that was apparent to my new friend. Also apparent was his increasing worry as tears seemed to well in his eyes. The young man who gave us such specific directions noticed us, left his place in line and offered to walk with us to show the way. We each had just a few minutes before our buses rumbled off and the building closed.

We found the gate, confirmed the destination, and asked the driver to be certain that his passenger leaves the bus in the correct town. I gave him a calling card of mine, which has my name, cellular number, and email address, alongside a design of a Celtic cross. On the flip side of the card is a phrase that will be familiar to you;

“Share God’s Unconditional Love with Everyone”.

Our navigator, Charlie, noticed the design of my card and asked about it. I explained that I had these cards printed so that I could offer myself as available to people who I meet along my way. He asked for a card also and we rushed off in hopes of making our buses in time.

The next morning, I received the following email:


It was good to see a man of the church live his faith. I gave up religion a long time ago, but I just might step inside a church today.

All the best,


That note placed a smile deep inside me that will last forever.

We often feel that we don't have the time or energy to extend ourselves to others with the small gestures that compose what we call common courtesy. It sometimes seems that this kind of social awareness belongs to the past, to smaller towns and slower times.

Someone who lends a helping hand when we are in need makes an impression because many people just walk right by. Even someone who simply makes the effort to look us in the eye, smile, and greet us properly when entering a room stands out of the crowd. Common courtesy is a small gesture that makes a big difference.

An essential component of common courtesy is awareness and common sense-looking outside ourselves to see when someone needs help or acknowledgment. As a courteous person, you are aware that you are walking into a room full of people or that your waiter has arrived to take your order. Then, awareness leads to action. It is usually quite clear what needs to be done - open the door for someone struggling with packages, move your car up two feet so another person can park behind you, acknowledge your sister's shy boyfriend with a smile and some conversation, apologize if you bump into someone. A third component is to give courtesy freely, without expecting anything in return. People may not even take notice, much less return the kindness, but you can take heart in the fact that you are creating the kind of world you want to live in with your actions.

I'm deeply moved that Charlie might just have stepped inside a church that day. However, it brings me tears of joy that he understands how the Spirit of God's unconditional love lives inside us and that we have the power to share that, changing our world one person at a time.

With love & light,


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