Thoughts on life from Pat Oaks
What are you thankful for? What makes you happy? What brings you joy? All questions all of us need to ask ourselves continually.
I was under the bridge last night, where I am every Wednesday night. The homeless population was down this night…the night before Thanksgiving. Maybe it was because the week before we had announced that we would only have sack lunches. Our cook at Lost Sheep is sick and hasn’t been able to fix the hot, sit down meal that we usually have.
The girl who answers the phone at the warehouse tested positive for covid, so they sent all the workers home. They didn’t have anyone to cook the hot dogs and stuff the sack lunches, so they called us to come and do it. They already had the bags out….300. Each bag got two hot dogs, which had not been cooked. .
Anyway, I digress. While I was under the bridge last night, John boy, who always plays and sings, was singing “Mary Did You Know”. I noticed one of the homeless girls with her eyes shut swaying to the music with her hands uplifted. She didn’t know the words, but would mouth “Mary did you know,” when John boy got to that part. She looked totally and completely happy and at peace. This girl has a lot of mental problems. Not sure if the street has taken it’s toll on her or what, but she definitely has problems. Yet…she always seems happy and she always thanks me for food that I did not buy and most of the time did not prepare. Very few down there DO say thanks.
As I left the cold of the bridge for the warmth of the car and later a hot shower, I kept thinking about this girl and how happy she seemed. I told Tommy about it and he sent me this quote by Mother Teresa:
Born in Serbia of Albanian parents on August 26th 1910, Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu became a nun, at first in Ireland and then at Darjeeling in north-east India, where she adopted the name Teresa. She longed for permission to move outside the convent walls to work with the poorest of the poor in India. She received permission to teach in Calcutta (now Kolkata), and began to work among the slums of the city in 1948. In 1950 she established the Missionaries of Charity along with twelve other sisters; it grew to include over 4,000 sisters.
She became universally known as Mother Teresa, and in later years she received great recognition and various ‘peace prizes’. At the same time she challenged all kinds of people to compassion and discipleship through her media exposure. ‘Do you know and love the poor,’ she asked. ‘If you do not know them, how can you love them?’ She remained radiant throughout, and commented pragmatically, ‘The surest way to preach Christianity to the pagan is by our cheerfulness, our happiness. What would our life be if the Sisters were unhappy? We would do the work, but we would attract nobody.’ She went to her reward in heaven on September 5th 1997.
I often see the homeless joyful and happy. Sometimes I go down under the bridge or out on the street and i am not so happy. In fact, there are times I don’t want to go. I always come away happier than when I went though.
John boy said when he got under the bridge last night, he spoke to a man and asked how he was. The man immediately replied…”couldn’t ask for anything more, brother.”
What are you thankful for? What makes you happy? What brings you joy? Can you say today “I couldn’t ask for anything more?"