Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Joy Fuel

Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 53: Today, I am grateful for joy fuel.

"Figure out what fuels your joy and do a lot of that." -Bob Goff

I hope you aren't tired of my Bob quotes. I am learning so much. I am SLOWLY reading "Love Does" because I don't want to miss a morsel of the sweetness and any learning I might find between the pages. 

Joy fuel yields a joyful heart!  What fuels your joy? 

The no-brainer, quick answer is: Jesus. Okay, he is the source, but what is the fuel? What crazy (yes, still on that theme) little things fill your heart with whimsy and a smile. Life is too short to miss any opportunity to make a day, a minute or a moment extraordinary. 

The people we encounter may only get one opportunity to be loved today... you and me. That, my friend, is a purpose. 

When I was in junior high and high school, I  volunteered at "Exceptional Children's Camp" each summer. (It is now called "Everyone Cares Camp".) Our Chicago Central Church of the Nazarene hosted this camp each summer. Back then... it was in Aroma Park, IL. It was my favorite week of the summer. 

The campers were special needs people. Our youngest campers were junior high aged... and the oldest in their sixties. It was a one-on-one buddy system. The teens were the "counselors".  The campers came from all over. If campers came once... most came back. It was at that camp... through one special camper with Down's Syndrome named Stevie... that I came to understand "God vision" and His love. Many of us  went to "serve" but ended up being changed by the "least of these". 

At ECC camp... surrounded by those so often rejected by society (It was the 70's and 80's.)... that I discovered joy fuel. 

One camper... Julie Hasselbring... became "mine". She was in a wheelchair and was few years older than me. She was a young woman when I was a teen. She communicated with her fingers pointing to a communication board. She was witty and her big, full laugh touched my soul. We spent several summers together at camp. Her mind was locked in a body that limited her, but she didn't let that stop her joy. 

At ECC... I learned that tying your own shoes we worth a victory dance... every time. 
At ECC... I learned that anyone can do a Native American dance with respect and seriousness. 
At ECC... I discovered it is good to know the Heimlich maneuver for choking. 
At ECC... best friends could be made in a week and kept for a lifetime. (counselors & campers)
At ECC... I learned that the world is far more handicapped than most people with disabilities.
At ECC... I relished unconditional love and the joy fuel of serving "the least of these." 
At ECC... I learned some people are not called to such service and that is okay. There is plenty of kingdom work to be done in other places. 

The truth is... I gained far more than I gave. I think that might be how joy fuel works. 

In my cedar chest, I have a graduation card that Julie sent me. She must have seen a picture in the paper and her family helped her get a card and find the address. She signed it herself and that was hard for her. It is a treasure. Pure love. One card... sent in 1987... still makes me smile and remember sweet Julie and so many more. 

This day is full of potential. Love takes courage... and time. But, it is time well spent. 

The smallest act of love can change someone's day. I know... sometimes... the smallest act of love changes mine. 

Today, I am grateful for joy fuel.

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