By Jeremy Reynalds, Ph.D.
Founder and CEO
Joy Junction Inc.
It had been a long day, which we ended with a networking event.
While good, I nonetheless really wanted to get home, and enjoy the peace and tranquility of home along with my wife Elma.
Making our way home, though, usually involves a stop off on the way at Joy Junction. Most of my work these days is away from our South Valley facility. We’re in the community daily, heightening awareness of the plight faced by the homeless, and letting people know what they can do to make an impact on the issue by partnering with Joy Junction.
While that’s a very necessary part of the life of a CEO, the visit to Joy Junction is always good. After all, it’s the reason why along with my assistant and wife I spend days crisscrossing the streets of Albuquerque going from one meeting to another.
The time we spend at the shelter includes some joking and light hearted banter with the staff, and on other occasions a little interaction with our guests. Elma is usually on the lookout for a baby to hold and cuddle.
However, a little detour was about to unfold. While making our way down Second Street, we noticed a couple of guys lying on the sidewalk under the overpass.
We slowed down and did a U-turn to take a closer look, but thought that the best move was to make our way quickly back to Joy Junction and dispatch the van driver on duty to check on the plight of these two guys.
At five feet and four inches (and my wife in the car across the street watching a little nervously), I didn’t think it was a good idea to wake up two men who looked pretty big- apparently sleeping or resting on the sidewalk. While I believe strongly in God’s favor and divine protection, He has also given me a couple of grains of common sense!
God had other plans in mind. When that happens, our typical routine day is turned into something quite a lot more exciting. I suddenly noticed that one of our Joy Junction vans was making its way north, so I flagged the driver down to stop. He quickly saw my reason for doing so. I leaned against the van and we talked for a minute.
I was telling our “much more size appropriate than me” driver to check on the status of these guys, and see whether they wanted a place to stay, when one of them got up and walked the few feet over from his “resting” place to where the van was parked.
He really was a big guy – as tall as I am short – and when he addressed me by name and seemed a little perturbed, I wondered what I might be facing in the next couple of minutes.
Well, it turned out that the reason he was upset was that he had been unable to get a bed space for a single man at Joy Junction that night.
As many of you know, Joy Junction’s focus is on women and families. The small number of single men whom we are able to take each night depends on available space after all the other populations have been taken care of. There’s a nightly call in at 5.30 p.m., but the slots fill up very quickly.
The man walked up to me, and while just a few feet away said, “Dr. Reynalds.”
Before I had the opportunity to say anything, he began telling me how upset he was about not having a place to stay at Joy Junction for the night.
Knowing that we always keep a couple of spots available for late night calls from law enforcement and area hospitals, I gave him a smile and said we would accommodate him and his friend for the night.
His look changed from being upset to one of delight. Walking back to his friend who was now getting on his feet the man gave his buddy a hi-five and exclaimed happily, “Dude, we’re going to JJ tonight!”
That just made my day. While I’d wanted to leave the networking event a little while before we actually did, God’s plans overrode my impatience and tired body. Those few minutes were truly a divine appointment. Have you had any of those recently?