I don’t know how normal this is but I often wake up with a song in my head. This morning I awoke with the lyric “All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to thy blood.” These are words from the hymn “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”. I spent some time examining what “vain” things I have found alluring, but soon turned my thoughts to the really charming and dear ‘things’ I have encountered this past week. These ‘things’ were in fact people, very charming people!
K is a Bible School graduate. When she had her first bi-polar episode her church thought she had a demon. She carries the sting of that rejection. She is a stylish dresser with a variety of hats and dresses not usually seen in our circles. She has long been on the fringe of our Street Hope gatherings but lately has decided to more fully engage. Recently, after our regular “Word from Our Sponsor” she asked if she could sing something. She began to sing not one song but a medley. They were strung together but had one unifying theme. This theme was the very one contained in my message. Week after week she continues to sing. She does so with a humour and grace that endears her to our little community.
J calls me each week. I ask her how she is doing and she usual answers “I’m surviving.” She then asks me the same question she asks every week. “When are your Bible Study times?” I tell her, yet again and then we chat for a while. She always ends with the words “I love you.” And I assure her that Linda and I love her too. This conversation repeats and repeats itself. I might find it exasperating except for the wonderful innocent charm. If she misses a week I begin to worry about her. Her guilelessness is so winning!
V also suffers with mental illness. Her anxieties are often overwhelming. Her mind gets whirring 100 miles per hour and she cannot sleep. Only two things help: reading the Psalms and prayer. She has difficulty remembering things so she has begun to write out her prayer requests. She begins, “God I brought my prayer list today” She says God is “a good listener”. As she proceeds through her exhaustive list she does a running commentary so God will know how they are progressing. “Just a few more …. Almost done …. This is the last one.” When Jesus spoke about coming as a little child he might have had V. in mind. Her childlike dependence and her innocent faith are beguiling.
These folks are the very opposite of “vain things”. I find them endearing and most charming. I hope to be like them when I grow up!