Aloha Friday Message – May 1, 2009


I want to share with you today a little story I heard during a recent homily given by Fr. Bob Maher (used with permission). It was a true-life account of a trip he took from Indianapolis to Honolulu. Folks, that is a L-O-O-N-G time to stay cooped up in an airplane. I should also tell you in advance that Fr. Bob is a tall, stocky, mustached, New Englander who is a Franciscan stationed in Honolulu. On the plane he was seated behind a Chinese couple who had a very young child – maybe around a year old give or take a skosh.

The mom was holding the child on her lap. The little one peered over her mom’s shoulder and, looking over the top of the seat, she spied Fr. Bob. Her reaction was precious! You know how kids get that wide-eyed look that just locks onto someone and they stay peering, almost glaring, at you for a long, long time? You can just see the little wheels inside whirring as they size you up. It was as if her young mind was trying to grasp the magnitude of what she was seeing. What was this visage before her? She stared. He smiled. She stared. He waited. She stared. He slowly held up a finger. She hid.

A few moments later she peered over the seat again, still wide-eyed, this time looking closer and perhaps more curious than afraid. She stared. He smiled. She stayed. He held up his finger. Her eyes widened, but – she stayed. His finger moved closer. She retreated. He stayed. She returned. He stayed. She tentatively raised her finger, too. He stayed. She reached…


She pulled back her hand. He stayed. She waited. He waited. She watched. He waited, finger still stretched toward her. She reached out again. They touched again. She stayed. She jabbered to Mama. She disappeared for a few moments. She returned, hand outstretched. He reached. They touched. She smiled. He smiled.

They did this again and again.

Her fear of being touched by “someone” she did not understand had been overcome. She had persisted in trying to understand. He had persisted in being available to be understood. They arrived at a place where fear had been replaced by mutual joy.

Does this story sound familiar? It should. As Fr. Bob pointed out, this is the story of the relationship between humanity and God.

We start out in our innocence, secure in our comfort zone. Somewhere along the line we encounter God, and he is more than our experiences can measure; we freak out a little and hide. He constantly reaches out to us with that big awesome smile on his face. That can be a little disquieting at first because we don’t understand it. He stays with us though, continually reaching out until we touch him with our lives and he touches ours heart with his mighty but gentle hand.

That contact leads to joy which is followed by our willingness to make more contact. Oh, sometimes things change, to be sure, and we become afraid again; we make ourselves smaller and inaccessible to him. But surprise, surprise! Next time we look over our little safety barrier, there he is as always, grinning away and reaching out that gentle hand to take ours again. Oh, Beloved! He is so in love with you! He is always looking to see if you are looking for him. When you do, he will get right in front of you so you can’t help but bump into him. He may not always look like what you imagine, but when your hand touches his, you will know him, and you will know joy.

Do you remember this little ditty from multiple chain letters on the Internet?

If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it.
If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it.
He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning.
Whenever you want to talk, He’ll listen.
He could live anywhere in the universe, and yet He chose your heart.
What about the Christmas gift He sent you in Bethlehem; not to mention that Friday at Calvary?
Face it… He’s crazy about you.
[attributed to] Max Lucado

And best of all, Beloved, he approaches you with that big grin and his outstretched hand. “God didn’t promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way.”

Read this next line very slowly and let it sink in: If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.

What a good God we have! Why not send him a knee-mail and tell him yourself?!?!

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved

Pray for the people. All the people everywhere. Do it all the time. That way, someone will always be praying for you, too.

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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