This week Facebook made me cry.
It was late Wednesday. After our nightly ritual of eating way too much ice cream and watching totally pointless TV, I decided to check the site to see if anything interesting had been posted. As I tiredly scrolled through the different pages I follow, the still-shot of a video jolted me into a state of alertness that left me speechless. I clicked on the arrow to play the video and watched in tearful silence.
Missionaries spend much of the day traveling from place to place. Sometimes by foot, sometimes by bus, in some areas by bikes or cars. And they always have to be with another missionary, called a companion.
On this day in October of 1997, my companion and I were, no doubt, out finding someone to share the gospel with, when we noticed this man, dirty and alone, on his island. We were curious about him. Who was he? Why was he there? What was he doing? What was he writing?
I decided to go and talk to him. I can’t remember what was said, but I remember being surprised at this man’s eloquence. He was obviously educated. He gave me a poem he’d written and his handwriting was impeccable with its loops and even lines.
I’ve often wondered about this man, Raimundo (pronounced hi-moon-doe). Was he still there, or had he gone Home? Was he still giving his poems away to those who stopped to sit and talk with him?
When I saw Raimundo’s face in the still shot of this video, I knew my questions would be answered, but had no idea things would have turned out for him the way they did. Because of one woman who stopped to find out who he was, Raimundo has been reunited with his family, after 47 years of separation. He is safe and clean. He doesn’t have to be hungry or cold. He has a sturdy shelter over his head. He is loved.
Watching this incredible video has made me think about several things. I thank God for beautiful people. People who genuinely care for those around them, regardless of circumstances. It’s through other people that God blesses His children. We have to help those around us however we can. And we need to allow others to help us. That’s the hard part.
I am so grateful for my family and am overwhelmed to know that we can be with our families forever.
I am amazed by God’s love and concern for His children, and am humbled for the reminder that “all are alike unto God”. He knows us individually and loves us equally.
I am grateful to feel carpet under my toes, even if it needs vacuuming. Grateful to have a warm, cozy bed, even if it’s a little small. Grateful to open the fridge and see only leftovers because it means I’ve eaten and will eat again. Grateful for a warm shower, even if the stall could use a wipe down. Grateful for sticky floors and dirty rooms because it means my kids are here and safe. Grateful for my home, with all its flaws, because I’m among the lucky to have a place to live. I am grateful for Raimundo, who has reminded me of all these things and more.
And I realized that I knew the answers to some of my own questions. Who was this dirty man on the street? A beloved child of God, the same as me. Why was he there? The same reason I was: to learn to be more like Heavenly Father, no matter what. What was he doing? Living the best way he knew how.
Translation for Raimundo’s brother:
After 47 years, I found him. When I arrived at the Island, I met a man in the middle of a pile of trash, without a haircut or shave, without any hygienic conditions. Knowing this person is your brother…
I suggested he come live with me. My siblings are all living. They’re all alive. It was this that was missing to complete what was empty.
He’s not a guest. He’s part of the family. Our kids, my wife, he’s an integral part of this.
(Thank you, Drica, for helping me understand the parts I couldn't! Mil beijos pra voce, minha amiga eterna!)
If the link above didn't work, you can watch it here: