The sign outside the Shepard's of Good Hope proclaimed that Laughter was the best medicine.
I sat warm in the car and looked out the window. The tree in front of the building stood frosty and strong. Men? I couldn't see any, I expect they were around the corner, out of the wind, with the cigarettes burning, hands cupped against the cold.
And I wondered... what is there to laugh about when you are homeless, perhaps struggling with addictions, or mental illness, or maybe just bad luck? What hope is there, other than for a warm meal at the end of the day, and hopefully a warm bed?
Where do they go from there? Is there a path that leads to better circumstances? How do you get from standing in the icy cold to a warm and loving home ringing with laughter?
Or could it be that they can find happiness and even laughter in their lives, and that it is my life, or appreciation of it, that is lacking?
I often move through my days as if in a fog, numb to what is going on around me; it is only jarring contrast that moves me to wake up and appreciate what is around me.
So maybe the Good Hope and Laughter is a reminder for me, just as much as it is a beacon for those frozen men.
Regardless, I wish them all Hope and Happiness, and marvel at the human spirit.
Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul - and sings the tunes without the words - and never stops at all. ~ Emily Dickinson