I don’t remember when or how I first became aware of Darryl (not his real name). A member of our congregation in Oregon in the 1980s, Darryl was someone who easily escaped notice. A young man in his early 20s, he was always pleasant, but painfully shy, socially awkward, and not very communicative. Darryl seldom showed much emotion; it just wasn’t part of his personality. Or so I thought.
It was an uncomfortably warm summer day in our mid-Willamette Valley town. I was slowly driving north on the town’s main thoroughfare and happened to glance to my right as I passed a fast food restaurant. Coming out of the restaurant was Darryl. I knew he lived in this part of town so I wasn’t surprised to see him. What did surprise me was the smile I saw on his face.
If smiles were measurable, what I saw on Darryl’s face that day would have been roughly the distance from Seattle to Boston. I didn’t know that a smile of that magnitude was possible for any face, let alone Darryl’s. It took only a split second for me to figure out the source of his joy. Carefully balanced in both