.. in the eyes of homeless person

I watched as a homeless old man was rummaging for food through the trash can. I was so moved I decided to give him the breakfast I was holding in my hand. He looked at me with teary eyes, eyes filled with gratitude, but mixed shame and pain, and said thanks. As he sulked to the pavement, he hungrily devoured my gift as if he hadn't eaten in days. He was crying as he ate. I turned around and started to walk away but I couldn't hold my tears as I sobbed on my feet. It was at this moment that I felt God's presence. I wish we could do more for these helpless people.
-- Jerome in Santa Monica, CA

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... in the warmth of true friendship

I was among long time friends last night, college buddies from 30 years ago. We were a tight group back then. When we were not asleep in our own beds, you can bet we would be running around somewhere - together.

We remained solid friends through the years as we all got married, had children of our own, established succesful careers and built independent lives. But with our busy schedules and the relatively far distances between our homes, we really don't get to hang out anymore as much as we'd like to. We'd be lucky to get everyone in one place once a year, maybe twice a year.

And last night was one of those rare moments. It was the birthday party for Ina, Ray F's wife of 23 years. Ray D and Mari (we've known each other since 5th grade!) were also there with their individual spouses - both of whom we've known since were all in college. And I came with the love of my life.

Something magical always happens when we get together. The same stories from 32 years ago get thrown back and forth and we all laugh at them as hard as we did the first time we shared them many years ago. Everyone gets into it. All the years spent away from each other seem to disappear. It's as if 32 years ago was just last week.

I know these guys better than I know my own brothers. I am so blessed to have them as my true friends. For 32 years, these guys have been like family and they will always remain to be so.

As we were saying our goodbyes, wishing each other well and wondering when we would get together again as one group, that's when I felt His presence. I felt God as we warmly hugged and patted each other in the back. I felt God in the tightness of the lingering handshakes. I felt God in the neverending farewells that started inside the house and was still going as we stood curbside.

God was there last night. As we turned our backs to walk to my car, I just knew that God was there, making everything whole once more. Friends for life - blessed by God.

-- Wally Arida

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... in the midst of all the craziness that is work

I work a lot (as I'm sure many of you do), and it would be safe to say that most of my time is spent at my job. My life here in San Francisco tends to run at 100 mph, and I've become accustomed to always being on the go, go, go. During the school year, if I'm not at work I'm at school - so I don't have a lot of free time. I rarely call my family, let alone go home to visit!

So today at work (I work at the bank) it was super hectic, the line of customers practically going out the door. When it gets like this, I tend to rush through my work. My breaking point finally came an hour after the rush, when I accidentally shorted one customer. Luckily I caught it before she left.

The lady was very understanding and before she left, she patted my hand and said, "Just take a deep breath and slow down, honey."

That stopped me for a moment when I realized she was right. Not just with my job, but with life in general. There have been so many times where I've constantly been busy busy busy..that I don't take the time to enjoy LIFE.

I think this is true for the majority of us - caught up with things we feel we need to DO rather than take our time to reflect on the things God has graciously blessed us with.

When was the last time I spent an hour (even on my lunch break) to sit outside and enjoy nature? When was the last time I took a few minutes before work to say a little prayer? How about the last time I said "thank you" to God for another day I can live?

It's not that hard, but it's something I don't do.

Today I saw God through a woman who meant to tell me to slow down while processing her transaction, but I saw it as God telling me to slow down and remember why I was here - why I breathe.

"Just take a deep breath and slow down, honey."

(Click here to view the many wonderful articles that await you in, America's Catholic Lifestyle Magazine. Be informed, be inspired, be blessed. )