Spend a day in a surgery waiting room and you'll witness a hundred quiet acts of mercy.
Strangers gather for a host of reasons with a common cause: to sit beneath the slowest clock and wait it out. They make calls, utter prayers and flip through magazines, and in their anxiety, they extend morsels of compassion: smiles and small talk, directions to the cafeteria and tips on its offerings. One person shown the way by someone slightly less new; flashes of humanity while loved ones down the hall are put under.
Don Currey was a 30-year-old graduate student when he was responsible for cutting down the world's oldest tree.
A geography student at the University of North Carolina, Don wanted to better understand Ice-Age glaciology by examining bristlecone trees. In the summer of 1964, he was in a grove of bristlecones on Wheeler Peak Mountain in Nevada when his tree corer got stuck in a tree.
It's almost as if November's Mass readings were written for election-weary Catholics, with their foreboding tones and calls for "perseverance" and "endurance" amid distress.
"They will seize you and persecute you," St. Luke warns.
"Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light," St. Paul exhorts.
Polls confirm what Facebook makes clear: Americans were disgusted by this presidential campaign. And when the two primary candidates registered record highs in unfavorable ratings, it was clear many would be unhappy no matter the victor.
When two 20-somethings slung a wire across rooftops in Boston, they were hoping to hear each other's voices transmitted across that line. It worked, and they did, but in the process, they also picked up a far more exotic sound: powerful radio waves emitted from the sun.
Alexander Graham Bell was 26 and working in a fifth-floor attic when he spoke those famous words into a mouthpiece: "Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you."
The message to his assistant was transmitted, Bell wrote in his journal: "To my delight he came and declared that he had heard and understood what I said."