CREDOS: The miracle — IV
There were tears in her eyes,” Fritz said, “and as I looked around the table, I saw that the battle-weary soldiers were filled with emotion. Their thoughts seemed to be many, many miles away. “Now they were boys again, some from America, some from Germany, all far from home.” Soon after dinner, the soldiers fell asleep in their heavy coats. The next morning, they exchanged Christmas greetings and everyone helped make a stretcher for the wounded American.
“The German soldiers then advised the Americans how to find their unit,” Fritz said. “My mother gave the men back their weapons and said she would pray for their safety. At that moment, she had become a mother to them all. She asked them to be very careful and told them, ‘I hope someday you will return home safely to where you belong. May God bless and watch over you.’” The soldiers shook hands and marched off in opposite directions. It was the last time Fritz or his mother would ever see any of them.
Throughout her life, Elisabeth Vincken would often say, “God was at our table” when she talked of that night in the forest. Fritz eventually came to live in Hawai’i and continued to carry this childhood lesson of brotherhood in his heart. He realized that being kind to one another and seeing beyond differences is a universal value, but he was surprised that Hawai’i actually had a word for this ideal—aloha. When he thinks of aloha, he remembers that night long ago when everyone was welcome at the table.