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Man Desires the Trust of His Homeless Friend

A little while ago I wandered into the wrong hospital room at Stony Brook University Hospital (New York). A middle-aged man with only a few teeth and a wide smile told me that he had shattered his foot after falling off a ladder. When I asked him where he lived, he told me the following story:

I used to live in a tent deep in the woods near Selden. Then some vigilantes came and burnt my little tent to the ground. I used to own a bicycle, until a rich lady in her huge SUV ran into my bike, dragging me and my bike for over a hundred feet. She never apologized or offered to buy a new bike. Actually, while we waited for the police to come, she chatted merrily on her cell phone. I guess I was just a worthless homeless guy in rags. So that's my life so far. I guess after I get out of here, I'll get back to the woods. But, you know, everything will be all right. I have faith in the Lord, buddy.

He told me these stories without bitterness or anxiety. My new friend owns almost nothing, and yet he seems so happy. I'm the guy with the cars and the home and the master's degree, but he has more contentment than I do. Why? I'll have to ponder that question a little more, but maybe he has trust and simplicity of heart, and I don't. Maybe Jesus was right after all: our achievements and our stuff and our money can't buy happiness. From birth to death it's all a ludicrous, radical, unmerited gift.

Some day I'd like to have as much trust and simplicity of heart as my homeless friend.

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