Sunday, July 31, 2005

It only takes a minute

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our afflication so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Cor. 1:3,4)

It was one of those days that you cannot stand to be inside. The skies were bright blue and the temperatures were in the high 70s. I had decided to take a walk during a slow time at work because I needed the exercise and had done what I needed to until something else happened.

As I was walking near the National Archives, I saw a man who goes to church with me standing in line with a group of people to see the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. He was with a young man in a baseball cap, who spoke with a slight accent. My friend introduced me to Alex, a 16-year-old exchange student from Germany.

He was from Dortmund, and come to find out was a big fan of Borussia Dortmund soccer club. We chatted for a while and Alex seemed pretty impressed that this stranger was able to talk with him about his club. His passion for the club was evident. It was like being a Yankees fan or a Redskins fan. He seemed blown away that I even knew the name of the club.

After a few minutes I started feeling guilty about being away from work for too long, so I said goodbye to Alex and walked off feeling pretty good about being able to make him feel at home here in America.

I learned today that Alex remembered that talk up until the day he died.

See Alex went to Austria and Spain on holiday after he left the United States and was involved in a mountain biking accident and died from internal injuries within 10 minutes. But his sponsoring family sent my friend an e-mail that included this note:

"Can you please tell the sportswriter (forget his name .... I'm in such shock, I've probably forgotten my own name) who knew of Borussia, Alex's favorite team? Alex thought that guy was the greatest American cuz of that!"

He really was blessed, and couldn't get over meeting and talking to some American who knew just what his passion was for his local soccer team. It really, really made his day.

It made me think about how the little things we do in a day can make a world of difference. I'm not blowing my own horn here. I had my own purposes for being out that day, but I believe that God arranged a meeting with a special kid who had a passion for a certain soccer team.

So I guess I should remember that the next time someone ticks me off. If you think of it, pray for Alex's family. They are obviously in a lot of pain.

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