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Inspired by Others, an EoC life story

An Economy of Communion experience inspired by an airplane ride.

by John Mundell

It had been one of those long days of international travel, and I had finally boarded the plane and headed to my next country destination. I was tired but so happy to be one of the early ones let on, because there still was plenty of room in the overhead storage compartments to place my carry-on bag so that my legs and feet would have plenty of room. After I shoved my bag overhead, I settled into my seat and watched the others come onto the plane. The plane was filling up, and so also was the overhead storage. People were finding it difficult to fit all the luggage they had with them. In fact, the last person on the plane entered and began looking for a place for his small suitcase. Up and down the aisle he went, pacing back and forth, peering into each section. Nothing. I thought to myself: “I am so happy that I got on early so that I didn’t have to do what he is doing!

After what seemed like a long minute, the man stopped pacing and was clearly frustrated. Suddenly, another man’s voice was heard from the seats: “Hey, I think my suitcase will fit below my feet!” As the man got up from his seat, heJohn Lorna Paul Eire pulled his suitcase down and placed it below his feet, and then took the other man’s suitcase and slid it into place. “There, just right!” he said smiling, taking an extra second to look straight at the man. “Thanks Buddy!” was the reply, as each man sat down in their respective places. I literally froze in my seat for a moment completely dumbfounded, and then began looking at the other passengers to see if anyone else witnessed this little miracle that I had just seen. I couldn’t believe it! I wanted to shake the person next to me to say: “Did you see what I just saw?” Suddenly, I felt shame and a little sad that I had not thought of doing the same thing myself. While I had sat there thinking only of myself, this ‘miracle’ guy took advantage of the moment and did a real act of kindness. Wow!

I must have thought about that moment on and off for the next 24 hours, thinking to myself ‘if I just had another chance’ I would surely make the right choice the next time. In a meeting with a group of presenters for a conference that I was speaking at the next day, a woman in our group had showed up late and realized she had forgotten to bring her part of the presentation. Everyone looked at each other for a moment wondering what to do. Then, I suddenly realized that I had saved a hard copy of her speech and it was in my hotel room about a 10-minute brisk walk away. “No problem!” I said, “I’ll run back to get your talk.” I immediately sprang up and headed out, knowing that if I hurried, I would be back with 15 minutes to spare. After arriving at the hotel room slightly out of breath and grabbing the talk, I was well on my way back and feeling a little proud of myself for not letting ‘the moment’ for an act of love to slip by this time.

Suore anzianeSuddenly, in front of me stopped a city bus, and out of the bus appeared two elderly nuns, with one struggling to unload a wheelchair for the other one, who was slowly coming down the steps of the bus. I kept on going past them convincing myself that one act of love was enough and thinking someone else would surely step up to help them. Then, it occurred to me that this was another one of those ‘moments’. I stopped, turned around and went back to help with pulling the wheelchair into position for its rider. As it turned out, the sisters were going to the same building that I was rushing to about six blocks away. During the nice stroll to our destination while pushing the older (93-years old) nun with the younger (86-year-old) nun walking beside me, we had time to share something about ourselves. I found out all about their rich lives and how they found their vocations, and they in turn, discovered my involvement in a new way of doing business called the Economy of Communion. It was a beautiful exchange and, on leaving them, the older sister said: “Young man, thank you so much. You will be in our prayers!

I then bounded into the building and rushed to the room, finding I had two minutes to spare before we were to present. Needless to say, the room that had been nearly empty when I left had filled to standing-room-only, and the presentation with all of our speakers went off without a hitch. While putting my laptop back into its case after our talk, I couldn’t help but think of the sisters and the power of their prayer, but mostly about the kind man on the plane the day before who had reminded me that there is always time for an act of love.

John Mundell, Mundell & Associates, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA (June2012)


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