Speedy’s Good Life

As I get ready for Thanksgiving Day I’m thinking of Speedy, “a thrill seeker in the world of project gangbanging,” as the Jesuit Greg Boyle describes him in his terrific book Tattoos on the Heart.  Speedy hailed from a broken family, left the gangs, worked his way out of the projects, and made a life.

One day, Speedy tells Greg about how he encourages his three children to read. They go to Barnes & Noble after Mass every Sunday and read for two hours.  “They be havin’ comfortable chairs at Barnes & Noble,” he says.  Then Speedy chokes up, talking about how proud he is, watching his children read.  “You’ve got a good life,” Greg tells him, and Speedy’s tears flow.

So I think of Speedy, whom I don’t know, and many people I do know, who have overcome terrible obstacles to have good lives.  They are the people Natalie Merchant sings about in “Life Is Sweet.”  (Full lyrics here.   If you can’t see the video, click here.)

They told you life is hard

Misery from the start, it’s dull

It’s slow, it’s painful

But I tell you life is sweet

In spite of the misery

There’s so much more, be grateful

About Jim Manney 780 Articles

Jim Manney is the author of highly praised popular books on Ignatian spirituality, including A Simple, Life-Changing Prayer (about the Daily Examen) and God Finds Us (about the Spiritual Exercises). He is the compiler/editor of An Ignatian Book of Days. His latest book is Ignatian Spirituality A to Z. He and his wife live in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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