Last night Renato made me a welcome home dinner.  He’s been well trained as a “saucier” and the sauce which graced my chicken breast was beyond delicious.  And for an appetizer, he presented me with tomato slices and arugula greens adorned with smoked salmon.  Oh my.  And did I mention my two glasses of dry white wine?  Happy was me.

We talked and talked.  Renato told me about his mom Ida (pronounced Ee-da).  She died when he was 12.  She was in the water off an Italian beach with a girlfriend, both of them holding onto an air mattress.  The friend lost her grip and slipped below the surface.  Ida tried to save her.  They both died.

Ida owned a clothing shop and once welcomed a woman and her young son.  Her husband had died and she wanted her son to have a suit for his first communion.  Ida picked out her best suit for the boy and he tried it on.  Smashing!  She gave it to him … no dissent from mom allowed.

Another time, Ida was standing outside her shop, talking to a friend, when she saw a man chasing a young girl with a knife.  She raced towards him and tackled the fellow, most likely saving the girl’s life.

A life so richly lived.  Do you and I need to be similarly heroic in deed, or is it enough to be supremely kind?  Yes, kind.  I know in my heart that I would gladly risk my life to save another, but I don’t go there in my head.  Instead I choose to be kind, to look out for my fellow man and woman, to feel into what they need, and walk that journey with them.

I didn’t used to cry much at all.  Now I cry a lot.  I see people like Ida on my daily round and I’m moved by their humanity.  I want to be like them.  So many folks moisten my eyes.  Some friends start me coughing because I love them so much.

Thank you, Ida, for opening my lungs and my heart and my eyes.  Look what we give each other!

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