The other day I got up to exit the “el” train I was taking to go to lunch and while standing at the door waiting for it to open I caught the eye of a little boy about three feet tall standing with his mother (I presume) who was pushing his little sister (I guess) in a stroller. They were also getting off. The little boy stuck up his hand and called out to me, “Give me five!” I gave him five and then as we began exiting, he grabbed my hand commanding: “Hold my hand.” I obliged. We got off the train holding hands and only let go when his mother and sister headed for the elevator—I was taking the stairs, which were right by the train door we just exited. The little boy and I waved good-bye as he, his mother and sister headed towards the elevator. Walking down the stairs, it dawned on me, I had just experienced about the closest thing to perfection that exists, the trust and openness of a little child
In today’s first reading, St. Paul challenges Titus to find what seem to me to be perfect leaders for the infant community at Crete. They were to be:
“…blameless, not arrogant, not irritable, not a drunkard, not aggressive, not greedy for sordid gain, but hospitable, a lover of goodness, temperate, just, holy, and self-controlled…” Titus 1:7-8
No small task for Titus or for anyone seeking leaders I suppose. Too bad we can’t get that little boy whose innocence and trust contagiously invaded the “el” platform that morning. Yes, sure, his mother might be able to tell us a little more about her precious but probably not perfect, son, but I believe I experienced a bit of perfection. I hope as he grows he doesn’t lose that bit of perfection and chooses to lead.
Dan O’Donnell is a Passionist Partner and a longtime friend of the Passionists. He lives in Chicago.