The first question of the day on the Rev Gal Friday Five was, “If you were a character in a children’s storybook, which storybook would it be, or what character, and why?”
That question sent me back to my childhood and the books I loved so much. There was one book I returned to again and again. It held the world within its covers–or so I thought. I carried that book with me everywhere. I drew on it, circled words and phrases I wanted to make my own, savored even the look of the words on a page. But there was one poem I always came back to–a little couplet by Robert Louis Stevenson:
The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.
Today, I’m entering into that couplet. Spending the day looking out at a world that is full of possibility and wonder. Not hard as I sip my morning cup of coffee and gaze at the Atlas Blue Cedar curled up against the patio wall.
Not hard as I make wild rice for the wild rice salad my good friend taught me to make years ago.Soon, my day will turn outward. A trip to the bank with a stop to deliver some checks to Albuquerque Heading Home–both reminders of the fullness of the day. Then I head to the day shelter–home to the homeless in Albuquerque. That’s where the verse I love gives me pause–number of things–at first glance people might say, “not for people living on the streets.” That’s surely true in the material sense. Most carry their lives in their backpacks and store what they cannot carry in a banana box the shelter provides. But then I remember Carole’s smile as she says, “I love you” and I hear Emmett’s laughter and I see Sonia’s passion for justice and the way she holds tight to her life on the streets. My friends at the shelter are teaching me a different meaning to the words “a number of things” and they are teaching me a new way of happiness. Happiness in the moment because that’s really all there is. The moment.
Each Sunday at the Congregation of St. Martin’s, we start our morning worship with the words from the psalmist, “This is the day that the Lord has made/Let us rejoice and be glad.” That congregation of housed and homeless say those words with such feeling. They know how to see possibility and hope and joy in the small things that make up their day.
They are teaching me to see the vast number of things that bring joy to weary hearts. And so today I’m going to try to really see that
“The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.”