Dear readers: Due to my surgery I was unable to complete an article for my regular column “Current Events and Comments.” In place of it I have written a fill-in article which I hope you enjoy as well. My apologies and the Lord willing I will be back in two months. Thank you.

Jamie carries his striped umbrella over his head as he tries to hide from the warm raindrops that want to blow in his sad face. He walks slowly but steadily as his eyes closely follow the stone he is kicking along the cracked sidewalk. As time passes Jamie disappears in the distance.

Jamie, you know, is one person whom I really am sorry for. He feels like a complete failure about so much of life and about so much of himself that he looks at himself as nothing but a failure. It is really so sad because he really is not a failure at all! He is a great person but, he fails to realize many of his valuable qualities. He is just as you and I are sometimes. Of course, some feel this more than others and Jamie is one of those people.

Jamie has a dream that he will someday be as great as so many people seem to him. But it is mysterious that Jamie does not know he is much more of a person than those he envies. It seems completely unreal to him that anyone could ever possibly envy him! Yet, there are those people. There are people who really would rather be a Jamie than a Paul or a Sherry.

Along with Jamie, you and I have forgotten or perhaps have never searched for what joy there is in living, the joy that should make us appreciate life everyday! How often it is that we live one day in and one day out and just more or less move along with time. There may be days when we feel like we are on top of the world and then days when we are on rock bottom but, how about one who feels like a failure almost every day. This is Jamie and perhaps even you.

Together let us try to make Jamie smile; try to make him feel like an important, successful person for himself and for others. Together let us allow ourselves to smile.

What makes you and Jamie a beautiful person? You have the greatest God that anyone could possibly have, a God who is alive and living in you everyday! Could anyone want anything more? You can hear your own prayers, prayers that would be totally meaningless if it were not for God who alone can hear them. And prayer also that can be held any time without having to first find a willing listener. You never have to wait ten minutes, a half hour, or two days before you can make arrangements to have Him listen. The secrets that you do not quite want to share with even the closest person you happen to know you can share with God. Indeed, this is something to be valued so greatly that if we do feel like a failure and yet are able to pray even then we can smile through the sadness.

And you are beautiful too because you have within you an amount of inspiration that runs like the endless sea. An inspiration that keeps you fighting through a most wearisome battle and an inspiration that makes you want to try to count every single window that a skyscraper owns.

Beauty. Is it possible for you to imagine who you would be without spontaneous joy? Don’t the miles of peace that lie within you make you feel some contentment with yourself? It is this inspiration that helps you capture beauty in words, in thought, and it is this inspiration that makes you feel spontaneous joy and spontaneous peace. And God gave you this incredible gift!

Then there is the great ability to think. When you are creative in your own thinking you are distinguished from all other persons. And there are times too when your thoughts can soar high above the confines of this earth like the thoughts of an architect as he dreams of the spires of a cathedral he will someday build.

You are more than the person who needs constant improvement, more than one who has failed so much, more than one who has become disappointed; you are in many parts an unexplored Christian. Everyday opens to you another opportunity to continue a voyage of new discoveries in yourself and is not that also beauty? You are capable of exploring the parts of you that are like brick walls, parts that have been tightly knotted with time, parts that are as a most fragile piece of glass, and parts that are so intricately woven that you will never finish seeing every stitch.

Don’t put off joy. Let us not belittle what was given to you and me, but let us take a glimpse at ourselves and be fascinated, be intrigued with this creation of God, even though imperfect. We must continue to discover more of ourselves until we finally discover for what we are living . . . the glory of eternity.

Well, Jamie has walked a long way by now and be has turned around and is walking back again. The rain has passed and the wind is blowing huge mountains of clouds swiftly across a dark gray sky. His umbrella is folded up and he is swinging it back and forth at his side while he clutches tightly the deep brown and yellow handle. The sweet smell of a fresh rain sweeps across the land. But Jamie is not kicking that black and grey marble-size stone anymore because he had kicked it too hard and lost it. The closer Jamie comes, the clearer I can hear a soft song fade in and out of the whipping wind. His hair is blowing and his brown eyes are beautiful. Jamie is crying.

“Jamie, keep singing. There is a lot to sing about. Jamie, oh Jamie, smile. God is in you!’’