Last week I went to visit my elderly godson, Tinom. Tinom is blind and unable to walk. He spends his days lying on a mat in a dark room. Just seeing his living conditions alone are enough to break your heart. Although Tinom was raised Catholic, he was never baptized. Shortly after we met him we were able to bring a priest to baptize him, my mission partner Thomas and I became his godparents. I treasure my moments with this man because of all the incredible things he has taught me through his example of JOY and love for the Lord!
During our visit, I decided that I really wanted to get him sitting up in a chair. Praise God, my mission partner Sarah and I were able to lift him with ease.
Words cannot express the joy that came across his face as he sat up in that chair. Let me repeat that: this man was filled with joy because he was able to SIT IN A CHAIR.
He sat in that chair as we sang and prayed together. He smiled and reminded me how happy he was to see me. In that moment my heart filled to the brim with joy. It broke at the same time as I thought about how long it could have been since he had been up out of that bed. What a bittersweet moment.
Everyday I complain about something. The bread for breakfast is stale. Lucy is making her millionth mess of the day that I’m going to have to clean up. The shower water is too cold. Two and a half hours of Mass is too long. I’m hot. I’m tired. The list goes on and on. How ashamed I felt when I thought of my laundry list of daily complaints as I looked at Tinom. As I thought about the life he lives and the misery he must face spending every single moment of every day lying on that mat in darkness. Yet, he has joy. He still finds joy in what should be complete misery.
It’s so easy to get caught up in our own misery. In our own discomforts. Yet, in these times, the Lord presents us with a choice. We can chose to complain – to be upset and angry. Or we can choose joy. The choice is ours. Today, I choose JOY!