By Lisa Winnington
Ronnie Merritt is foreman of All Saints Cemetery. He was driving over to the office on a recent Thursday and noticed a young boy in the grass. He was crying. Ronnie, my co-worker, started to talk to him. He was not having a good day at all.
Ronnie shut the car off, got out and sat down to talk with him. After 10 minutes Ronnie was called for a funeral so they both stood up and hugged each other … crying.
The boy, Luis, thanked Ronnie for stopping to talk. Ronnie came to the office to see if I could talk to him while he tended to the funeral.
I found Luis outside and sat next to him on the curb to listen. At 17, this young man had two children under the age of 3, was a high school dropout, no steady job, no family to love and care for him, and a girlfriend that does not appreciate any of his efforts to provide a home for them. They were fighting, and he was completely overwhelmed, lost and did not know where to go or what to do.
I shared with him that there have been many times in my life where I felt completely alone and hopeless and did not know what to do. It was at those times that God sent people into my life to help, because that is how God works, he uses people to remind us of the good in our lives and to keep moving forward. I assured him that God had a purpose for his life and that what he was going through now was temporary and it will get better.
I gave him a comfort cross that we give to grieving families. I told him to keep it as a reminder that God is always with him, in the ups and downs of life and will give him the strength he needs.
By the end of our conversation, his tears had stopped, and I saw hope in his eyes. I asked him what his plan was, and he said he needed to find somewhere to charge his phone. I suggested the library.
As he left I reminded him he was a good person, and to continue to proceed with goodness and goodness would follow.
There is no doubt in my mind that our lives all crossed paths for a reason. We are often unaware of the pain people carry inside. God calls us all to help each other and see the good in them. Taking a moment to listen and share compassion hopefully helped Luis to know he is not alone. People do care.
In the fast pace of this life, we should never underestimate the importance of just slowing down and ‘being there’ for someone. That is what God calls us to do.
Lisa Winnington is family service representative at Catholic Cemeteries for Diocese of Wilmington.