Once upon a time there were three little…. hmmm, nope.
We have all heard of the restaurant Five Guys, well recently I met Three Guys…nah.
Life is like a three-legged race…what does that mean? Nope.
How many famous trios can you name? Go…
Huey, Dewey and Louie, Charlie’s Angels, Three Stooges (Ugh), The Three Musketeers, Snap-Crackle-Pop, The Three Bears, The Bee Gees, ZZ Top, The Andrew Sisters, Peter-Paul-Mary, Hanson (Mmm bop, ba duba dop ba du bop, ba duba dop, ba du dop, ba duba dop ba du…) ok now that’s stuck in my head.
Three Wise Men! Bingo (So now you know the stream of consciousness of a writer’s mind, shall we begin our story?)
I recently met three wise men.
I lead laughter yoga in various places and with all ages. Of all the groups in which I am blessed to lead, there is one participant who stands out. Since this gentleman is a beacon of light, we shall call him Ray (ray of light). Ray is in a wheelchair and has had a stroke, therefore he only has use of one arm and leg. In laughter yoga, we practice breathing exercises, stress reduction, and relaxation techniques, which include: clapping, arm movements of many variations, and foot stomping. Laughter yoga certainly gets us out of our comfort zones, is silly feeling at times, and there is not much to compare to it, but is truly so much fun. Most people love it if they try it, but some only half try. Some scoff and don’t try at all. Ray always tries. Even if the exercise requires using 2 hands – he uses his one functional hand. Even if that means clapping the air – Ray claps one hand in the air. He smiles, he laughs, he encourages others, he welcomes newcomers to the group, and he helps me. He raised a family, was dedicated in his profession before retirement, and has countless accomplishments. All of that is great, but what makes Ray such a wise man, is that he is still serving the common purpose that I think we all share…wherever we are in the stages of life to continue to care for one another.
The second wise man I met recently is a man in his 30s. We shall call him Josiah, because it means Yahweh supports. This man was at a place where he didn’t have much of a support system remaining. The question proposed to all of us was, “What gives you strength to keep going? What higher power, Bible verse, quote, pet, aspect of nature, etc. helps you keep going?” Josiah knows darkness, tragedy, and loss, yet he said “What helps me keep going is that God is a There God. No matter where I am, or what is going on, God is there.” Josiah could have kept this to himself, but he chose to share his faith. Josiah is a very wise man because he is doing what our faith as Christians is supposed to be all about…he is allowing God to continually care for him, holds on to the hope of our Savior, and shares that hope with others.
The third wise man we shall call James (because that is his name, his parents gave permission, and his story reminds me of James 3:17). Yes, I had to ask his parents’ permission because James is about 4.5 years old, and yes, he is a wise man. I wish I could insert a video of him here, because he could tell his story so much better than me. One Sunday morning, our pastor called James up to the front of the church. James had this marvelous idea to have a lemonade stand with “real lemonade” in order to raise money for *Backpack Buddies. Simply that he went up without his parents brought joy to all of us…it’s not easy to stand up in front of a crowd. James did though and was quite the well dressed and polished gentleman I may add. The pastor reminded us of James’ lemonade stand and asked him to tell us how much he raised. James didn’t whisper it in the pastor’s ear, nor did he look down at the floor. Just as he should have, James, in confidence and celebration, announced that he raised, “$507!” I asked his mom to find out from James why he wanted to give to Backpack Buddies in particular, and he said, “To help other children (thought about it a minute and adamantly added with pointed finger) AND to be good to God.” James is a young man, but oh, so very wise…he already realizes life is about what we can do for someone else, and he is a man demonstrating what it really means to “be good to God.”
Three Wise Men once heard about the Messiah being born and were so excited that they followed a star to be in his presence. Three Wise Men today still excited about the Savior and living it. These men prove that physical challenge, status, emotions, nor age prevent us from living in the wisdom of God. We may not all be able to give or even raise money for others, but we can remember that God is there, giving wisdom, showing us how to love, and offers opportunities daily to give in some way.
“But the wisdom that comes from Heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”
Mmm bop, ba duba dop ba du bop…oh boy, still there.
*Backpack Buddies is a non-profit dedicated to fighting childhood hunger. Many children are food insecure, meaning they don’t know where their next meal will come from. For many, their school lunch is the only meal they consistently receive. The organization works with school counselors to provide food to these children that is easy to prepare and nutritious. For more information go to http://www.brookwood.org/backpack-buddies/.
Chaplain Kim Crawford-Meeks