Morning Prayer: Largeness of Heart
February 26, 2014
Prayer by Dr. Kathryn Hamrlik, Theology Teacher:
A few months ago, I went on a retreat, where a friend gave a talk. I’d like to share a story from her remarks there was particularly moving for me. These are her words:
Early last spring, on a rainy Sunday afternoon, I decided to do laundry before settling in with a good book. I live in a high rise apartment building and the laundry is in the basement. Having changed into comfortable clothes, meaning sweats and flip flops, I brought the laundry downstairs.
Returning to my apartment, I realized that I had locked myself out. No house keys, no car keys, no cell phone, no money, no subway pass….nothing except laundry detergent.
Luckily, I keep a second set of keys in my office desk at a non-profit organization about 2 ½ miles away.
Hoping to reach a friend to drive me in, I went outside, stopped a passerby and asked to borrow his phone. I quickly realized that I don’t know anyone’s number…they are all programmed into my phone.
Running out of options, I walked in flip flops, in the rain, the 2 ½ miles on a busy street. Fortunately, the office is accessible via keypad code, so I enter the building with no problem, albeit tired and soaking wet.
I retrieve my spare house key from my desk and begin to leave when I realize that I have no money to return home. Remembering the emergency cash the office keeps, I go to the admin assistant’s desk and there is $2.00. I take the money and head for the subway.
Putting my money in the turn-style, I quickly learn that without my usual monthly pass, the fare is $2.50. I plead with the transit person to no avail.
Then, I do the only thing I can do….I begin asking people for money. (By now, I look the part ). The first 3 people I approach, ignore me. The 4th, a young woman, smiles sweetly, and apologizes for not helping me. Most simply rush past.
A homeless man, whose territory I was clearly invading, came over to me and said: “Lady, you need a cup” and offers me a used Dunkin Donuts cup. Near tears, I explain that I have money… at home…I just need to get there. This man holds out his cup of coins and tells me to take whatever I need.
From his cup, his nothingness, he gave without judgment, without thought of his own need, with abandon….Clearly, for my new gentleman friend, the purpose of wealth is not security. The purpose of wealth is reckless generosity, the kind that sings of the lavish love of God, the kind that rekindles hope on dark days, the kind that reminds us that God is with us always.
Let us pray.
Loving God, give us the largeness of heart that lives inside the man who offered first, a cup; and then, his coins. Give us the gift that he had inside of himself that enabled him to give away his gold. Help us to see your face – your grace – in those whom we walk by every morning. And help us to be that face and that grace of love and generosity to others. Amen.
Mary, Seat of Wisdom, pray for us.