Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The prospect of the righteous

We met "Sonia" a few years ago at a youth camp for children of refugees, where we were serving together. Besides helping refugee kids, Sonia raises money for charity, and recently has taken on guardianship of a 7-year-old girl. This child had never been to school before moving in with Sonia, and had not learned the alphabet or the other things that first-grade kids usually learn in this country. Instead she spent hours locked up in the apartment while her mother threw her life away on drugs and bad men.

I was thinking about Sonia when I read this morning's selection from Proverbs:
The prospect of the righteous is joy,
but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.
Proverbs 10.28
Sonia was recently diagnosed with cancer; she may not live to see 50.

This does not seem fair to me: one woman throws her life away, another has it taken from her. Yet "the prospect of the righteous is joy"?

On one hand, I don't get it. On the other hand, when I think about the rotten mother -- sorry, but she is a rotten mother -- who locked her kid up and did drugs and had sex with bad men, surely this bad mother's hopes will come to nothing unless something changes.

And Sonia's prospect of joy? Any joy will be tempered with the knowledge of a looming catastrophe, because although there are palliatives, there is no cure. Yeah, I know that we're all dying, and any of us could die any minute (all it takes is one stray truck), but Sonia has a weight that most of us don't have to carry.

May Sonia find joy in the coming days. May the rotten mother come to herself and not discard the rest of her life. And may you and I rejoice in every blessing. Sometimes we have to look for it, but the prospect of the righteous truly is joy.

(minor corrections 3/11)

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