Nakai Jun, SJ (Associate pastor of Shimonoseki Hosoe parish and staff member of the Labor Education Center)
Why is this man always challenging me? Why doesn’t he leave me alone? How does he dare to change my life?” Such thoughts as these came to mind as I read this book. Attracted and summoned by Fr. Hayashi, I was assigned to Shimonoseki and am now working with him. There are many people whose lives have been changed by Fr. Hayashi. He has that kind of appeal. An Iwanami editor, too, was attracted to articles he had written and greatly desired that they should be collected and published. This book was the result. It is full of Fr. Hayashi’s zeal.
On reading it, I felt a deep desire emerging again within me?the desire to follow this lifestyle of plunging into the lives of people in need, accompanying them, and weeping together with them. But at the same time I found another self inside me saying, “Wait! Should I follow this man? Can I bear it? Isn’t there any other possibility? This man is just an odd fellow. Let me just keep myself at a distance and watch what he does.”
I realized that these two aspects of myself were in conflict inside me. I thought deeply about this. I looked back over my life from the time when I decided to work with Fr. Hayashi. My first attempts to follow him were times of anxiety, times of uneasiness. However, I was also blessed with precious encounters with people. Then, gratitude toward Fr. Hayashi came welling up. One person inside me was trying to guard me and was refusing to change. Then I made a fresh decision saying, “I will go. I will cross over my own boundaries. I will meet people in need and be with them. Jesus is waiting there.”
All who read this book honestly may feel a deep desire within themselves and, like me, may also feel the challenge to change their life. This is because this book is grounded in words which issue from the wounds of Christ in the contemporary wilderness of East Timor, Okinawa, Fukushima, and so on.
My favorite part of this book is the chapter which tells of Fr. Hayashi’s days with Fr. Kalim, who was later killed in East Timor. The moment of farewell at the airport was amazingly moving. Fr. Kalim said with deep emotion, “Thank God that we have worked closely in the same mission for ten years,” stretched out his hand, and these two good men shook hands firmly. Fr. Hayashi kept his heartfelt promise: “I shall never let anything spill out from this handshake.”
I too intend to keep my heart’s promise never to let anything spill out from what I have learned from Fr Hayashi and this book.