Today’s act of JOY contains an element of absolute sadness.
I frequently drive down West 7th Avenue, and have often seen people lined up outside of “Joseph’s Coat”, an organization that provides clothing for people in need. All items are new or gently used, and are provided to shoppers without charge. Joseph’s Coat is only open two days a week, hence the long lines. My heart breaks every time I see that line. It invariably includes a stroller and a toddler or two who would much rather be playing in a warm house.
So, it was a joyful surprise when my husband, John, brought a jacket up from the downstairs closet. He asked, “She isn’t going to wear this anymore, is she?”, referring to our daughter. That jacket was the warmest one I could find at the time; it had to keep Christine from freezing during her days as a crossing patrol at Horace Mann Elementary. The jacket was certainly not new, but it was in perfect shape.
So I am grateful to be able to drop off this jacket, along with two other nice jackets that were sitting in the basement closet. I felt glad to know that someone would be just a little bit warmer this winter. And I would like to think that this jacket will give someone great JOY when they see it on the rack.
But the jacket comes with great sadness. Why, oh why, do we still have people in our community lining up just to receive basic clothing?
I pray these jackets will, in some small way, add to these shoppers’ Advent JOY.