So often we think that formal education is what counts, yet each moment offered to us is an opportunity to give or receive a lesson. I remember becoming conscious of this truth one day as I stood outside school after hours keeping company with a child who was waiting for his mom to pick him up. In the building nearby, people were busy preparing food in the “soup kitchen,” an offering to people in need of a meal. Our presence was noticed by a young man peering out of the window. Although he appeared to have some handicaps, he in no way lacked heart. He bounded out of the door like a St. Bernard puppy. He approached us, grinning from ear to ear. “Hi,” he said. “My name is Mike.”
He readily extended his hand to me. As our hands met in hearty handshake, I noticed Cory’s grimaced face. When Mike returned to the kitchen, Cory looked at me. “Didn’t you know his hands were greasy from his fried chicken?” “Yes,” I said. He looked at me with profound intensity, searching my face for a clue. This didn’t make sense to him. “Cory,” I responded, “he was extending his heart to me. I can always wash my hand, but I could never make it up to him if my heart didn’t meet him half way.” He looked at me, slowly nodding. A look of understanding registered. Judging by the expression on Cory’s face, that made perfect sense.