He wore a bright yellow sweater vest and a pouty face beneath shaggy, black hair. The top of his head almost reached my waist and might have been convenient for an armrest. As it happened, however, that was the only ¨convenient¨ quality about him.
Quietly, sulkily, and somewhat surreptitiously, this child of no more than eight years old approached each of the visitors to La Catedral in Arequipa, hoping to elicit some sympathy and some small charity. He was equally adorable and pathetic, and I wanted to kick him in the face.
How dare he interrupt my time of meditation? Didn´t he know that this was a church? How could he just walk in, ignore any sense of decorum, and disrupt my time to pray and meet with God? This basilica, one of only 100 in the world permitted to display the Vatican flag, and–who does he think he is?
It took a few moments, the realization. Often it does, and sometimes it´s too late. I chased after him, hoping for another chance to do something small (something small is all I really want, too much of the time), but open, I think, to something bigger. I followed his trail out the door of the cathedral where–how could he disappear in such a vibrant sweater?–I searched the Plaza to no avail.
A child–¨let them come to me¨–and a needy one at that–¨I never knew you¨–and I lament that Lazarus can´t come and that I am given no signs, and that there is too much to bother me from praying.
Grant me eyes to see and ears to hear…