Monday, January 10, 2011

Shopping for Joyness

Last week my wife went grocery shopping. When she arrived, she noticed what looked like a homeless lady with a young child in a rickety stroller. The lady approached my wife and told her that she desperately needed food. Instead of just brushing her off or giving her a few dollars, she asked if she could walk with her in the store and buy her whatever she needed. The lady was shocked. Then, just as she said, she followed the lady around the store and shopped with her.

After they checked out, one of the managers noticed that there was no way she was going to fit all the food into her little stroller, so she offered her some of their nice cloth food sacks. The lady gratefully took them and then was on her way.

That night my wife told me of her adventure. I was proud of her as God has given her a special heart of compassion for those in need. I honestly wish I was more like her. I figure my focused busyness and selfishness holds me back more than it thrusts me forward into those types of situations. That’s not okay, and I need to change.

There was one very important detail that I left out in the story above. My wife wasn’t alone. Our 5 year-old son, Jackson was with her. He received a gift, which was arguably greater than the groceries the lady received. My wife modeled compassion for others right in front of him. He was able to see the lady, watch the shopping process, see her little one in the stroller, and watch his mom pay their bill.

That night while I was tucking Jackson and his 6 year older brother in for bed, I asked them both what their favorite part of their day was. Jackson’s answer was surprising. He shared that helping the needy lady and her child were the highlight of his day. I asked him how he felt inside when they were shopping together and he said, “Joyness.” I have a new vocabulary word. What is Joyness? I would argue it’s the feeling you get when you help someone in a big, intentional, and extreme way. Joyness isn’t about doing something 50% - it’s an “all in” attitude.

You and I need to look for ways to exhibit and pursue Joyness. Find opportunities today to model this to others and continue giving the gift of Joyness.