Girl from Ipanema


“In the summer, I went out on the streets and sweat. In the winter, I went out on the streets and shivered.” Those words uttered by Vic to me left an indelible mark.

I met Vic by chance, near the turn of the century, one summer’s afternoon in San Antonio. A friend of mine organized a lunch get together at a Chinese restaurant. By chance, Vic sat next to me. I found myself looking at a thin, almost gaunt man, a bit over six feet. Vic had two arms like everyone at the meal. Only one was functional. Vic was a Maryknoll priest. He told me he loved to play the piano, but a brain operation caused him the functional use of one arm. He could still play his favorite song from memory and his heart, Girl from Ipanema, with his right hand.

I asked Vic about his different assignments. He told me one of his assignments was in Harlem. I said, “What did you do in Harlem?”

Vic said, “Every day I went out on the streets to be the people. In the summer I sweat with them. In the winter, I shivered with them. It worked for me.”

Vic’s words got me to thinking that most people want the loving presence of another more than they want to hear their words. This is

When I learned to sweat in the summer and shiver in the winter with others, I learned how to be fully present to other people in a unique and meaningful way.

Today, I will make an extra effort to sweat with those whom I come in contact.

winter harlem

Shiver and Sweat

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