Victor the angel- from Michael and Teresa again

Yesterday our group visited the Catholic Worker. As we arrived we got in line to receive the food that the Catholic Worker was serving that day. Michael and I then began to look around the courtyard to find an empty spot for us to sit and visit with some of the people being served. This was a bit uncomfortable but soon enough we found two empty seats at a table with a man that seemed to know it all about the Catholic Worker. He introduced us to the founder of the LA Catholic Worker, Jeff. He was able to tell us a little bit about his life which was awesome. While we were chatting with him another man sat down right beside him and across from us. He did not look up, only stared at his food. When the man that we had been talking to left, I decided that this was the opportunity I had been waiting for to push my comfort zone and start conversation with a stranger. Michael and I introduced ourselves and he told us his name, Victor. He seemed a little apprehensive to chat but soon warmed up. I (Michael) asked him where he was form and he explained that he was from Peru. He shared with us that he had hitch hicked all over the world. His english was broken but we could still make out what he was trying to say. He had such wisdom to share with us and when I (Teresa) told him that he had so much wisdom to share, he was incredibly humble. As we began talking more, Victor began smiling from ear to ear... so did we. We could tell that he had such a huge heart and so much to share. He told us that happiness doesn't come through money, it comes through helping others. He said that in life you just need to remember to love and not to hurt.  Loving your neighbor is one of the most important things to remember. He followed this by explaining that he was an orphan growing up but has found his mom and loves her very much. Towards the end of the conversation, Victor thanked us for listening to him. At this time, this came as a shock to me (Teresa). This man that is sharing his wisdom and story with us is giving US thanks for listening to him. I was so grateful to be able to hear what he had to say. Being able to look this man in the eyes and see his happiness was a gift in itself. We got the sign from Chris saying it was time to go and to wrap up our conversations. At this time we told Victor that we had to leave. He held out a hand to shake our hand, but I (Teresa) couldn't resist an opportunity to hug who I think is an angel. So I stood up and walked over and asked for a hug rather than a hand shake. As I was going in for a hug, Vistor put his hand on my shoulder and said "You stay the same, don't change" then proceeded to give me a solid 5 second bear hug.  So amazing! I (Michael) followed Teresa in giving him a what seemed like a long bear hug. Maybe its just me but it seemed like the hug represented us wanting to hold on to the conversation we just had and to never let go of the moments that speak to us so dearly. What an amazing man and experience!

Michael Ising
Teresa Spanel
University of Dayton


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