Starting Point
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Issue Date:  April 14, 2006

Starting Point


His name is Jim and he is the truck driver who delivered our container of bonsai pottery and tools. He was very friendly and wanted to know all about the monastery, so we filled him in as best we could. He told me he loves his job, driving all over the country, meeting all kinds of people and hearing all kinds of stories.

He took up truck driving after retiring from the phone company. Previously, he traveled all over the world laying fiber optic cable. I asked him what his favorite place was and he immediately said, “Jerusalem, yeah, Jerusalem. It was something -- to walk the same roads that Jesus walked. I wondered if my foot ever was in the same place on the road as his was.”

As we unloaded the container, he went for a long walk and came back an hour or so later. “Great place,” he said. “My daddy used to come here. Maybe I walked just where he walked. He’s been gone a long time.”

And here we are, in this time. Sharing this road we call life, walking in places where millions have walked before. I do not know Jim’s religious affiliation. I would guess that he is Baptist. We all know that Jesus was Jewish, and at the monastery we are all Roman Catholic. Me, the monks, Jim and Jesus all landed on roads not really of our own choosing but, I think, all headed in the same direction -- call it what you will -- Glory, Heaven, the Promised Land.

Chatting with Jim, it did not seem to matter what our religious paths were, unless, I suppose, we wanted to get formal or stuffy about it. But that did not happen. We just stuck to the road of places where we had been and remembered some favorite things.

When he left, I wished him well and he said he hopes God blesses us. It is beautiful, when you think about it, how we hope for God’s blessing for and from each other. It is God, really, walking this road of life.

Fr. James Stephen Behrens is a monk at Monastery of the Holy Spirit, Conyers, Ga.

National Catholic Reporter, April 14, 2006

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