A Warm Atmosphere at a Hypothermia Shelter

Soft, melodic piano chords fill the sanctuary of the Church of St. Clement in Alexandria, Va., early one morning. I get up from my cot to investigate. A man is thoughtfully creating music on the church piano. He pauses between chords, listening, thinking. “That’s beautiful,” I tell him. “You must be a professional.” Yes, he was, the former hip-hop musician tells me. He continues, speaking softly, gesturing with his hands. “Creating music is like building with Legos. It’s all about building …

A Holiday Surprise: Learning How to Give

There’s a woman in my town who seems to be everywhere. She is of indeterminate age, and whether she’s at the Metro or the farmers market, she asks passersby for money. Sometimes she sells the homeless newspaper. She usually talks in a kind of sad, downbeat monotone. I saw her at the market Sunday, and it was pretty cold. When she said she needed a few bucks for a meal at our local cafe, I said I’d walk down with her …

Do You Live Each Day with Purpose?

When you wake up in the morning, do you think to yourself, “I’m so excited, because today I get to… (fill in the blank)? No? I have teenagers, and on occasions I hear the following proclamation, “I’m bored!”  Usually said out loud to the world in general, with only one part (unsaid) that is directed at me:  “…and what are you going to do about it?” Boredom, idleness, and lack of motivation can often be linked to a lack of …