“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, persistent in prayer." ~ Romans 12:12
From nowhere came the sound of an old-fashioned telephone, so authentic that Cooper scanned the Pizza Hut for an antique, something that wouldn't look out of place in an old movie. Glancing at a man wearing a puzzled expression, the old cell phone was easy to spot.
It wasn't wafer thin like the popular models, but probably a mid-90’s Motorola clamshell device he’d only seen in pictures. Sensing his stare, the old man looked up.
“Young man, are you any good with cell phones,” he asked somewhat embarrassed. “I’m trying to open a picture message that my granddaughter just sent.”
Cooper approached him for a closer look. “I’m afraid your phone doesn’t have ability to view photos,” he said holding back a chuckle that his mind enjoyed.
The man’s shoulders slumped exposing the sort of broken heartedness akin to ice-cream melting on a steamy highway. He explained that the photo was of his granddaughter and her new baby. She lived far enough away that he’d likely not see the child in person any time soon … if ever.
“The name’s Elmer,” he said, his lower lip quivering as words slowly made their way out of his mouth. “Thank you for trying.”
Now the sadness shifted to Cooper’s eyes. “Mind if I try something,” he asked. With some difficulty and a few earnest prayers, he was able to forward the message to his own phone and eventually managed to open the picture.
At seeing great granddaughter for the first time, Elmer’s smile extended from his eyes deep into his soul. Cooper could see his love for them both through teary eyes.
“I never realized the true meaning of joy,” the old man opined, “until our first child was born and I held her in my arms. she learned to walk, went through school, got married, and had children of her own, my understanding of joy amplified tenfold."
He offered Cooper a $20 bill for his effort before returning to his booth. Cooper refused the gesture but Elmer insisted. So, he stashed the bill in his shirt pocket and left the restaurant.
Cooper returned several minutes later after printing the photo at a nearby Walgreens and placing it in an inexpensive frame. Elmer was just cashing out when he handed him the framed photo.
This author’s words are powerless to adequately express Elmer’s gratitude. Let’s just say he could hardly contain his happiness.
Every small thing in life is a moment able to nourish the soul if we let joy in. Live with awe, humbleness, present in each moment and the gifts of life will fill you to the brim, so much that your joy will overflow and make better the lives of all around you.
Joyful Spirit, I pray that You fill me with the joy of the Lord, that overwhelming joy. Your joy is unlike anything this world has to offer. It brings peace, trust and hope and with that a rest because I know You’re in control. Amen