We all have them—moments when something wonderful happens that moves our heart, opening it anew to beauty. So powerful are these, that their images and sounds remain and continue to offer their nourishment. Here is one I will never forget.

I led, years ago, along with two others, a Hospitality Center for German merchant seamen, a place where they could find understanding and respite from the challenges of the life they had chosen. On this particular day, our three vans were heading out to the Grand Canyon, one of them driven by a sailor. I had helped get it all together and now it was about 7:30 a.m. and they were gone. I was exhausted from a lot of 18-hour days. I planned to walk the three miles home just to fall into bed.

As I started down the dock, the ship’s carpenter, Jochen, spied me from the deck and called down. “Where are you going?”

“I’m exhausted. I’m going home,” I told him.

“Selber Schuld!” he answered. That means “it’s your own fault,” the idea being that there are better options. “Come back up here.”

Too tired to argue, I boarded the ship once again. He waved his arm, commanding me down a gangway. To his own cabin door. I looked up at him, uncertain. He said, “I’m going to lock you in here until noon. No one will disturb you and you have nothing to do but sleep. Go on, get in there!”

Astonished, I obeyed. The door closed. I heard the lock turn to. He was right. There was nothing to do here. So I laid on his well-made bunk and fell asleep. I awoke only at the sound of his respectful knock at noon—over 4 hours later. I felt greatly renewed.

Over lunch in the crew’s dining room, I asked him why he had done such a lovely thing. “You should know,” he said. He wouldn’t say another word about it.

Insight like that, kindly thoughtfulness like that—rare enough in our world. These days, I especially cherish moments like it, because our societal attention is often drawn to other, less lovely, qualities. I open this memory to remind me and enrich me.

What are your precious moments? Do you revisit them for your own present and extended nourishment?
















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