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It had been a lovely day. Seated at the shore of the Yellow Breeches (a stream near our house),  I was mentally composing a status update to my facebook page: Perfect day, checked out a new church, grabbed some Moe's burritos and explored a new park  in Harrisburg, came home to watch Spain win the World Cup, then a brief jaunt to the creek to do some tubing and reading in the shade. Tonight, friends coming for strawberry-blueberry cream cheese pie.

In and out of the noises of the creek, the gurgle of the ripples, the happy shouts of kids, and the slow scraping of kayaks being pulled up to shore, I heard snatches of a cell phone conversation. "What do I ever get out of this relationship???" a voice demanded.  "It's been this way, every day..." I surreptitiously glanced over my shoulder and noticed a young man on his cell phone, seated by the tree trunk a stone's throw away.  I tried to continue reading, but was caught by the anguish in his voice. Profanities streamed, frustration mounted, his voice rose.

We all long to be in meaningful relationships, this one seemed like it was heading down the tubes. I wished I could somehow make a difference, but we left while he was still on the phone.

Last night I was browsing a book recommended by a friend. It's written by a Buddhist, and although I can't concur with the underlying premise of Buddhism, I've found wisdom and freshness in some of Buddhist thinking. In seeking to find meaning in suffering, Buddhism teaches that we learn through our own pain to connect with the suffering of others. That we allow our hearts to be opened and soft to those around us in pain. In Romans 12, Paul will say "Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep."

My perfect day had collided with the not-so-perfect day of a fellow human being. I pray the God who comforts all of us in our sadness sends His spirit of comfort to this young man. That would make it the perfect day.




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