Deacon Keith A Fournier
(c) Third Millennium, LLC
It was a steamy day in the Nations Capitol. I was rushing to one final meeting in the Dirksen Building after attending Mass at noon. The morning had been packed and I was tired. This was a “stop by” visit, graciously accommodated at my request, in order to allow me to introduce a colleague of mine to one of the great Christian public servants of our age, the Honorable Rick Santorum.
I have long admired Senator Santorum as one of the clear and consistent Catholic voices in public life and service. I have had the privilege of working with him on the fundamental human rights issue of our age, the dignity of every human life at every age and stage. My younger colleague, an evangelical Christian with a desire for public service, was eager to meet one of his heroes, a man who has informed his public service by his faith.
This was the last stop in what had been a whirlwind trip to the Capitol. Frankly, I was glad the official itinerary would soon be over and I was actually looking forward to traveling home. As my hair has grayed, I have lost a bit of the “spring” in the step and this kind of “stop by” does not really excite me.
God, as is often the case in our lives, had other plans.
When we entered the Senator’s office it was frenzied, filled with the kind of activity that regularly characterizes Capitol Hill offices. People were milling about and waiting to see the Senator for various reasons. He was delayed, still on the floor in a vote and everything was being managed well by his competent staff.
However, in the right hand side of the room, I noticed a slight little boy, with dark glasses and an infectious smile. More than simply noticing, I heard him. He was singing with a voice that instantly melted my heart and drew every eye toward he and his proud family. His name was Timmy.
Timmy Kelly was there, like my colleague, to meet the Senator. He was with his two wonderful parents who so clearly love their son. I overheard Timmy say to his Dad “Dad, I am so excited to meet the Senator”. It was expressed with the purity and innocence of childhood. The excited tone was deeply refreshing in a town so often jaded with cynicism.
I took a seat in the far corner of the room and my younger colleague sat closer to Timmy. I quickly saw that he knew the words of the song that Timmy was singing. It was a popular song, apparently written and performed by a contemporary performer named Avril Lavigne.
Timmy’s Dad, (also named Timmy) brought his young son over to my colleague. “Timmy” he said “This man knows that song.” Timmy was excited! The interchange that followed was wonderful. Timmy asked “Do you know who she was writing about?” “A friend in High School who was made fun of by others?” my colleague responded. “No, she was really writing about herself” said Timmy, revealing wisdom way beyond his ten years, “she was the one they made fun of.”
Right at this point, a bizarre thing happened in the hectic pace in the Senators office. A group of people, including several young people, entered the room with badges on indicating they were with the A.C.L.U.. Apparently, they were at a convention in the Capitol that week.
After the flow was interrupted by their large presence (which Timmy could not see because he is blind) he simply continued singing another song. People were literally amazed at the beauty, the timber and the pitch of his voice. They were impressed with even more with the purity of his huge heart. Timmy is not only blind but has cerebral palsy. When he sings, his entire little body moves to the tempo of the beautiful melody. I must admit, and I again am showing my age, his movements reminded me of a young Joe Cocker.
The group of A.C.L.U. visitors had a look of determination on their faces. I couldn’t help but think they were not all that pleased with the Senators positions on some of the vital issues of our age. You could tell they were there to try to wield some kind of, what they perceived as, “power.” The Senator is, after all, a champion of life, courageously defending the dignity of every human life, including children in the first home of their mothers womb.
The organization has embraced a notion of freedom as a raw power over others, at least with its unqualified support of abortion on demand. But the young people accompanying the leaders on the visit, also wearing the badges, were taken with Timmy’s song. So were people now stopping in the hallway to listen. Because of their sheer number, there was no more standing room in the main waiting room, so the A.C.L.U. delegation was led to an adjoining room to await the Senators arrival. They stayed behind a closed door.
Unfortunately, they also missed what would soon transpire.
Timmy just kept singing his songs of joy. The waiting ...
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