A few years ago, I noticed a woman at church who greatly resembled my Aunt Jean. I never seemed to have the chance to meet or speak with her and one day, I came upon her obituary in the newspaper. She had passed suddenly and my first reaction was that I was sorry I hadn’t taken the time to get to know her. How ironic it was to discover that her name was also Jean, the same as my aunt.
Jean always attended church with another woman, who now came to church alone. One Sunday recently, I sat in the pew where Jean and her friend would always sit. Sure enough, her friend came to church, alone, and sat in the same pew. After mass, I introduced myself to her and told her why I always noticed Jean. The woman’s name was Mary and she went on to tell me that she and Jean had been friends and neighbors for over 50 years. Mary said she is close to her children but she misses her friend, Jean so much. I told her that my Mom had passed recently and over the next half hour or so, we talked and shared stories of the two special people in each of our lives who are now gone. At the end of our conversation, Mary said to me, “I’m so glad you introduced yourself to me and that we spoke today. It was good to share happy memories of Jean with you.”
I could have just left when Mass was over and put off talking with Mary to another day.
Our world has become so busy today that we often don’t make the time for a simple act of kindness; like spending time with someone who’s lonely or grieving and maybe just needs someone to listen.