The Power of Gratitude
A Thanksgiving Reflection
By Greg Paul
Author of Close Enough to Hear God Breathe
The figures at the far end of the city park I was about to enter, lurking just outside the bright cone of a streetlight, had the hulking, rounded look acquired by homeless people wearing many layers of clothing. I assumed I would know the two people, and so personal safety never crossed my mind – I’m a pastor and member of the Sanctuary community, which makes a particular point of embracing people who are, as we say, “street-involved”. In other words, most of the “bad guys” are my friends. As it turned out, these two were men I have known for years. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that we love each other like brothers – brothers in a large, fractious, family where addictions and violence are too common.
We stood there in the cold dark bantering about nothing in particular. My pals were sober and at ease. They weren’t in a rush to be anywhere else; that little park was, in effect, their living room, and apart from some of the more colorful expressions, the tenor of the conversation was pretty much what you’d hear at a neighborhood dinner party.