Years ago, I heard the terrible story of a young man who committed suicide in Japan. I don’t remember the circumstances, but they must have been awful because the story was on national news. My heart broke for his mother and I said a quiet prayer for his family. I was struck at how personally I took the death and how awful I felt for a perfect stranger. And at the connections we feel in this family of man.

I haven’t followed the situation of the men in the mine in Chile since it first occurred because I couldn’t emotionally process the horror. I’m claustrophobic. Boy, if I got stuck down there, they’d have too put me into a coma for the whole time or I’d go nuts and eat everybody else. Without the fava beans and chianti even.

But I’ve prayed for them and their families. When I realized there was hope, oh, what a feeling. And then I was afraid to get my hopes too high.
I got up Wednesday morning to the news that the first man had come up. I set my DVR to record ABC news (love Dianne Sawyer). At lunch I checked my phone–13! Oh, praise God!! Got home and went straight to the TV–24!! Woo-Hoo!
And held my breath until they were all safe.

In a world filled with evil and tragedy and struggle, this is a wonderful story. I feel incredible relief and gratitude.

Sometimes, the things I pray about regarding strangers don’t make the news. I hear at the beauty shop about a young father with a terminal illness:; sometimes I just see someone in the grocery store whose eyes reflect exhaustion and worry. Teenage boys break my heart because, since my son’s suicide, I know how fragile they are. I see their fear and vulnerability. Sometimes it’s a large family in a beat up car.

Sometimes I smile and my prayers are gratitude as strangers reveal their humanity and fun. Wednesday morning I, as is my habit (I’m so trying to break it), I was behind a woman driving a leisurely 75 mph down the freeway to work. I was singing MoTown and interrupting myself to wave my arms at her to hurry up and pass that semi (“who passes with their cruise on??!!). I finally streaked by her and got off on the next exit. As I waited at the red light, she pulled up by me and our eyes met. I realized it was the same woman at the same time she broke out in a wide friendly smile and pointed at me. So funny. Those moments of connection with strangers feed my soul.

But those miners. Boy.

What about you? You have moments like that?