Have you ever been lonely? Ever been sad? Haven't we all? It seems having something to look forward to keeps our mind active and focused. I've heard it said that "Life happens while we're planning our future." There are times when planning isn't an option. Life becomes dark, and it seems there is no future.
Have you ever heard a joke and the corners of your mouth go up? There's a faint smile on your face, and you may even make the sound of laughter. But inside you're dead. There is no joy in your heart. Laughter should be accompanied by joy.
I've been in a place where there is no joy or laughter, and the world is a dark place without hope. I was just in that state of mind many years ago. Even though I was not hungry, I knew I needed to eat. I ordered a hoagie and went downtown to pick it up. I arrived early and decided to wait outside a few minutes until it would be ready.
While I was sitting and waiting, a woman appeared straight across the street. She entered a phone booth. I watched as she picked up the phone, dialed and deposited her money. Unexpectedly, I saw her break down and cry. I couldn't hear her and had no idea what was affecting her so badly. I've seen sorrow and suffering. This woman seemed to be broken.
I had an overwhelming desire to comfort her. I wanted to touch her shoulder and say, "Is there anything I can do to help?" My motives were pure. However, I just sat there and watched. I was afraid. Afraid that this stranger might not understand my motives. So I procrastinated. I thought I'll pay for my food, then maybe approach her.
I paid for my food and left the shop. When I came out, she was gone and I never saw her again. I remember her still and probably always will. It was as I was driving away that I realized something had changed. I was thinking about somebody or something other than myself.
I got so caught up in someone else's sorrow that I forgot my own. It was a small window, but it was something. The apostle Paul said that he had learned that no matter what condition he was in, he accepted it. I'm no apostle Paul, but I've learned that no matter what condition I'm in, somebody is in a worse condition. I've learned that in the deep darkness of your life or mine, the best thing we can do is to reach out to someone who's hurting more.
Don't worry, they won't be hard to find. Just look around - there are hurting people everywhere. God will bless you.
Jay McCaulley is the Sentinel production manager.