Eradi, one who notices others
The solidarity of Eradi
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The solidarity of Eradi
Thursday, May 02, 2013

Paul M Kline, PhD, Associate Professor for Clinical Practice, Graduate School of Social Work, Boston College
Boston, 2 May 2013 – When I first read this beautiful story of Eradi I was immediately captured by the description of him as "the one who notices". This is a wonderful way of describing what it means to be in solidarity with others, because to notice someone is to do more than just 'see'.

The story of Eradi teaches us that to be in solidarity with others we must see them with open eyes and open hearts – as people who carry the dignity of a child of God. Noticing others with his eyes and heart, Eradi reaches out to them with comfort and kindness.

Jesus, too, walked in the world as "one who notices". Jesus sees others with a pure and perfect heart of love. The Gospels are filled with stories of Jesus standing with outcasts – men and women who are alone, rejected and abandoned. Some are alone because they suffer with broken bodies, broken minds or broken spirits.

Others are rejected by society because they look different, sound different or have different beliefs and traditions. Like Eradi, Jesus notices with his heart the ones who are broken, different and pushed away. By listening to their stories, Jesus heals their loneliness.

By sharing meals with them, walking with them, and touching them with compassion and concern Jesus eases their burdens and strengthens their hope. Jesus is, for Christians, the perfect example of one who notices others with an open heart and stands with others in compassion and solidarity. His ministry of love and mercy heals broken bodies and broken spirits and, because he stands with them, Jesus also frees them from the prison of isolation.

Eradi has experienced hard times in his life, prevented from pursuing his dream of migrating to a more peaceful country. He has been rejected. He has been treated as if he were invisible. He knows what it feels to be shunned by others uninterested in his story or dreams. Many of us have similar stories to tell.

We, too, have experienced moments in which we were unable to find compassion in the eyes of others. We, too, know the loneliness that comes when others fail to open their hearts and how it feels to stand alone.

Yet, even though he may have gone unnoticed, the wisdom of faith has taken root in Eradi's heart. His heart is kept open by his love for talking about "things of God". This is how Eradi welcomes God to strengthen his heart with wisdom, love and hope so that he can be a person "full of generosity" for others. God stands in solidarity with Eradi so that he can stand in solidarity with others.

We are told that Eradi is a chauffeur and that he performs his job very well. But, we are also told that he does much more than that. His job tells him what he should do for others; his faith tells him that he should do all things with love.

For Eradi, his job is a way to live as God wishes. Like Jesus, he lovingly welcomes the stranger as a friend. Like Jesus, he notices with love the ones who are lost, alone, forgotten and rejected. Eradi does whatever he can to make sure no one stands alone.

Love transforms everything he does into an experience of belonging and solidarity. The story of his life is a lesson for us all.

Paul M Kline, PhD, Associate Professor for Clinical Practice, Graduate School of Social Work, Boston College