A Family of Strangers

I knelt in front of the pew hands clasped together resting on the prayer stand before me, head bowed, eyes closed. Tourists in the background chattering in their many languages. I felt a stir behind me, and then next me, I felt him kneel down beside me, and I was aware of him assuming the same position as me and so many around me.


I opened my eyes and looked up at the alter, I made my final plea, and I recited the Lord’s Prayer. It seemed an appropriate thing to do in a building of such heritage, that has stood for so many years, and seen so many people of faith, and of none, walk its floors; so many people, with such religious authority stand before the alter. I finished and made the sign of the cross on my body – head, chest, shoulder to shoulder. My brief spell in Catholic school had taught me well.


I glanced over to the left, where I had felt that man kneel beside me. I looked at his hands first, old and worn, his skin dark and full of wrinkles, I looked at his clothes, humble and nondescript. My eyes traveled upward to his face, I saw his eyes tightly shut and his brow furrowed with creases so deep. Great desperation and intent were written across his face. I witnessed the tears roll down his cheeks, his shoulders slightly shaking. He sensed my movement and glanced up and me, his old eyes met my young ones and I wondered what they must have witnessed in his many years of life, his gaze lowered once more and his lips started forming soundless words. My heart melted.


I inched my knees closer to him and my hand met his, he grasped it and squeezed it. In that place together, we prayed, him knowing what for, and me just praying sensing his burden.


There in that moment we met, old and young, cultures a world apart, strangers, yet family in Christ. I saw how big and how strong this family is that I am a part of, how real it is, and how no matter what separates us, and how unknown we are to each other, still we are family, and still in those moments our hearts can beat as one. And together, as brother and sister we sit at the feet of our dad and tell him and show him what’s going on in our hearts, and together we feel his embrace.


Strangers yet family.


One Comment on “A Family of Strangers”

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