Chancing upon this book is a story as extraordinary as the book itself. Allow me to elaborate.
Sunday late morning, my mother-in-law, my wife, and I drove to our neighborhood Church. The car parks both inside and outside the Church were full. So I dropped them off hoping to find a parking lot somewhere further down the road. It is better to have at least some of us attending the Mass, rather than all three of us returned home empty handed (without receiving the sermon and the communion that is). I could not find a lot so I headed to the library nearby and returned the books as planned.
I had no intention to borrow any book from the library. Since I have time to kill, I scanned through the shelves and randomly picked one. It was A Day with a Perfect Stranger. I do not know what prompted me to choose this book. Perhaps it is tiny and I was looking for some bite size reading. Onto page one, I was hooked.
I never thought I’d become the kind of woman who would be glad to leave her family. Not that I wanted to abandon them, exactly. I was just glad to get away for a few days. Or longer, in case of one of them.
Maybe I should have celebrating instead of escaping. That’s what you do with big news, isn’t it? And we had plenty.
A few week earlier my husband, Nick, told me that he had met Jesus. Not the usual “getting saved” kind of meeting Jesus. I mean, met Jesus. Literally. At a local Italian restaurant.
I was intrigued. It was as though God was speaking to me, “OK, I know you’ve missed Mass. But here’s a book you can read and make up to it.”
I sat down, slowly reading one chapter by one chapter. Unable to finish the book within half an hour, I borrowed it before heading back to the Church to pick up Cynthia and her mother.
This book may be tiny, but it is loaded with inspiration for the soul. For those who have a religious background, may or maybe not practicing the faith at this very moment, this book calls for a self-reflection. For those who are open-minded, there may be much to gain. If I were the author, I would probably give this book a Paulo Coelho approach. Take away the Christianity reference and make it more universal. Then again, I can see that the message would not be as powerful. Because at the bottom of it, the author wants to convey the message that Jesus is among us. Human do not need religion to have a relationship with God.
Back to the story, Mattie was shocked that her husband has met Jesus, in a restaurant. She could not believe it. In fact, she wanted to run away from it. Mattie did not believe God and she disagreed with the notion of religion. Interestingly, this book is not about religion. It goes directly to the crust of what religion is about: God. On the plane, Mattie has met a perfect stranger. Through dialogues, Mattie began to do some soul searching. Works of art are a reflection of the creators. Parents love their children, no matter what. We reach out to those whom we love, and vice versa. From the beautiful scenery of the nature, to the beautiful smiles between parents and children, are we not seeing and hearing something more profound than just a scenery or just a smile?
In summary, A Day with a Perfect Stranger is a simple yet inspirational book especially for the Christians, lapsed or not. Soup for the soul.