In our family they are known as Barbara's friends. We usually find these men in downtown Mission, gathered just outside the Recycling Depot. They are so gracious, always greeting us with joy as if meeting an old friend. We collect our empty cans and bottles to give to them; maybe they can make a little money (with some dignity) by recycling. In the pre-COVID days, we sometimes bought them a treat from nearby MacDonald's, especially when we wanted to get our favourite savoury; Chicken McNuggets.
As winter approached, my wife Barbara decided to knit woollen caps for them. Recently I presented the toques to them and they were so delighted to receive something new, something just for them as I suspect that they are more often the recipients of used things. The 'thank yous' that erupted were from the bottom of their hearts. As I sat in the car to drive away, I saw in the rear-view mirror that they were excitedly putting on the toques. I got out and walked back to ask them if I could take a picture. They were thrilled, and the man on the left, put on his aviator glasses, Joe Biden style, and they happily posed with thumbs up signs - a picture shared with this article
And I reflected and asked the question, “is this what abundant life is; to be happy ‘whatever my lot?” Their joy and laughter were undiluted, and highly contagious. As I drove away, I realized that I was feeling a different kind of infected. I was happy.