Food He daily gives the hungry,
Sets the mourning prisoner free,
Raises those bowed down with anguish,
Makes the sightless eyes to see.*
Do you want to see Joy? Real, deep, genuine Joy?
Come to the Corner with me...
Since some of you cannot come with me in person, let me try to take you there...
Like lightning bugs they pop up, "I'm so thankful for today."
"God takes care of me."
"He knows what I need."
"Every day I wake up is a gift."
"I thank God for every new day he lets me see."
Last week, it hit me...they have something I do not have, a deep gratefulness for the simple act of being alive. All over they say that Life is a Gift, that every day they get to be alive is great just because they are alive.
Me? Waking up can be hard. Facing a new day can feel like a challenge.
Joy? It is something I mostly lack.
Where is my joy?
My word for 2014 is REJOICE. Have you ever chosen a word for your year? This is a word I want to characterize this year, and I am pretty sure God has put me with my homeless friends to teach me how to rejoice, because I don't know how to in my very worrisome life full of cars and homes and clothes and make-up and looking good and trying hard and feeling afraid.
They live simply. They have little in a material way.
But they have something we want desperately,
if we are brave enough to say it.
They have JOY.
They REJOICE in the smallest gifts.
The $7 I gave to my friend Pete? He remembered it the next week and he said, "Thank you so much for that money. It really helped me."
A measley $7 seemed like it greatly impacted his life, while we are off worrying about getting $70,000 or $700,000 or $7 million.
I long for his joy. I long for his gratefulness. I want to be like the homeless men and women I call my friends.
Oh, that I can learn to love life and thank God for it as they do! Surely my life would be immeasurably enriched!
*From the hymn, "Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah"