I've been thinking about the Kiwi I met on the way to Medjugorje, and mentioned in a previous posting. He's had three incarnations in that post. In the first version, I mentioned meeting him on the ferry, and he did not appear again. I thought I was finished with the item, but I had an uneasy notion that it needed tidying up. The Kiwi was a loose end that I had to tuck away. So I went back, and took up the story of my unhappy co-tenancy with him at the boarding-house.
He wasn't finished with me yet. The whole piece had an unfinished feel to it (and, in a compositional sense, it still does.) I made some small changes to the ending, and thought, "That will do." This morning, on the train, he started to nag me again. Since the trip, my opinion of him had been dismissively low. But this morning, as I took out my notebook to write something completely unrelated, I noticed for the first time the places in which I had encountered him, and it dawned on me that he, too, had been on a pilgrimage.
To hold this faith, which after all was the point of my visits to Medjugorje and Jerusalem in the first place, is to acknowledge the active presence of God in the world. It is, among other things, to refute coincidence; to realise that one's life is a narrative, as, consequently, are all of the lives with which one's own story intersects, in whose narratives one writes some lines, while each, in turn, scribbles in your scrapbook.
I paid him little heed but that of embarrassment and avoidance, and even a few weeks ago, wrote dismissively of him. Yet he has returned to deliver his lesson. A touch more humility, a touch more charity, if you please. More wonder at the glories of your companions on the way. Here endeth, for the time being, the lesson. Deo gratias.