Saturday, December 14, 2013

What's It Like To Be "Happy"?

I saw him a few weeks ago.

The girls and I were in our car and he was in his wheelchair. He was parked on the side of the road. Waiting? Stuck? We didn't know.

But as is common for us, we felt that infuriating pang of desire, helplessness, and paralyzing fear all at war within us. How can I, able bodied and financially supplied, empowered with four good limbs, a checkbook that isn't totally empty yet, and half a tank of gas be more immobilized than a one-legged man with no more possessions than he can carry with him at any point in time?

But I am. Because when we saw him a few weeks ago, I said out loud, "I want to help. I just... we don't know him." We kept driving. One of the little girls waved.

Today, the two older girls had breakfast with him. His name is "Happy," and they say it fits. He is. And he has no home, and very few possessions. He lives day to day. But he has friends. Friends who also know his name and are truly happy to see him. They said it was like watching a reunion unfold. They were under the tent, Emma on coffee duty and Jane cooking hashbrown potatoes. It was cold and rainy. A few others had already gathered to warm their chapped hands with the coffee cups and fill plates with breakfast fare the first time, when up came Happy. The girls instantly recognized him. He was greeted all around by his friends, who had hoped he would join them for breakfast this week, one of the places they normally gather. A chorus of greeting rose upon his arrival, and smiles all around.

He's a veteran. The girls didn't pick up yet which war. I could guess. Emma just said, "He seemed full. It's not what I expected. We have all this stuff. We're always frustrated with it--it's not enough when we want something new. It's too much when we have to take care of it. He just has. . . something else."

She's right. And we've got a lot to learn.

Maybe it got started this morning, because of Happy.

1 comment:

glenwied said...

Some day, you and your girls may see him fit and happy in glory. What a blessing.