“Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy. It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity.” – Henri Nouwen
When I began approaching people who live in SRO’s (single room occupancies / low income residences), or on the street in the DTES of Vancouver to do jumping photos for my project. I was surprised by the willingness and openness of people who are struggling with all kinds of barriers and struggles in their lives including hunger, homelessness, drug addiction, abuse and mental illness. JR was one of those people who surprised me, he lives in the Arco Hotel which is the building I made the Wall of Joy mural on. He seemed very shy and withdrawn, but when I asked him if he would like to jump for joy for my project – he said yes 🙂 He liked the idea of spreading joy around the world and wanted to take part. This really warmed my heart, and reminded me not to make judgements based on perceived appearances and gave me the opportunity to celebrate more fully in our shared humanity.
Look out for moments that surprise you, and cherish what they reflect back to you about yourself, and humanity.