Trust me you, it is not always that what we see is simply what there is! This is a family and in a family you get to meet everyone in one way or another. Sometimes you never get to meet them physically, but you get to know a lot about them from other family members, some true some not, you choose what to take. I didn’t meet Martin until after my fourth year as a Capuchin. It was in the afternoon, indeed a slow one and we – brothers in formation – were preparing to leave for Meru for our annual retreat. What he said that first time is very much common a statement, “mtuombee sana”. Don’t you think it is very old a statement? I didn’t care what he said because he didn’t seem to pay attention to us let alone to what he had just said.
A few years later after his studies in Rome, we met. This time, I ought to have repeated the old statement but for some reasons and looking at him from outside, I didn’t – perhaps because of my pride. I actually never thought he knew me. Surprisingly, he knew me, not simply by name, but by character as well as the sleazy mud I had smeared on myself. I didn’t expect him to know that, after all, is he not the same Martin who didn’t seem to pay attention to our presence back in the day? How wrong I was. According to my judgement, his attention seemed somewhere else. On the contrary he was very much aware. “It will be well, it is just a matter of time” so he said, as he encouragingly patted my back. I almost asked him, “What will be well?” but I swallowed my pride, I had been proved wrong, what I thought I knew of him was all wrong. Such paradoxical, absently present!