I believe joy is always present.
It’s just that during roll call, joy frequently chooses to respond inaudibly.
But joy is there.
Even when it has to be dug up from the depths.
Sometimes joy hides.
Or we push it away and simply don’t have or want
our line of vision adjusted to spy it.
Joy can seem like a fickle companion cloaked in mystery.
You might feel all frowny, out of sorts and then without warning
joy lands as unexpected as a dragonfly lighting in your midst.
Joy is a direct hit to the soul, like shouting,
“You sunk my battleship!”
Except even if your vessel takes on water,
Your soul has been saturated with an ocean of joy.
I skipped last Friday’s joy post.
Last week, was an exceedingly difficult one for several people I love.
So many dear ones have been in long and short holding
patterns of waiting for the deepest sorrow to land.
Friends waded into the crashing waves of grief as
they said goodbye to a precious 2-day old baby,
a brave husband and a dearly beloved mother.
I am sure if I took a poll of readers, you could offer
your own version of pain or sadness you experienced.
It seemed hollow to write about the joyous wonders of
ice cream or a favorite pen.
It’s important to mourn with those who mourn.
I am praying each family will discover joy hasn’t
abandoned them, it’s pressed down during this
time of weeping and reflection.
I haven’t witnessed the dragonfly landings of last summer.
But I know dragonflies exist.
We might not always feel joy.
But joy exists and quite remarkably can
coexist with sorrow.
(If you don’t believe me, take yourself to see the
movie Inside Out immediately….brilliant!)
Joy came and is coming to me in two ways this week:
Honestly, I am kind of cheating as I write this post.
(see what I did?)
But by the time, you read these words, we will be on
a beach, enjoying cooler weather and my soul will
be drunk with joy and rest.
I love the Oregon coast for so many reasons.
I feel the presence of God in every thunderous clapping of waves and
each cycle of foam skimming my toes.
I hear Him in the wind that inevitably destroys my
hair style yet rebuilds my frame.
It’s where I first knew without wavering,
I loved Carl and we told
each other those three huge words.
Don’t let anyone convince you to believe
“I love you” are three little words.
Our time on the coast will look quite different as
there will be three in attendance.
You may have noticed, I didn’t use the word “only”.
It’s obvious I want our family of five to always be together,
especially at the beach, but I am learning when I use
the word only, it minimizes the number and members.
The word only can kind of have an attitude and I am fighting
this with all I have.
There will be three of us at the beach and we will
build sand castles of joy right beside a couple of missing footprints.
Life verse of joy
I paraphrased a verse to a friend in an email this week.
It caused me to reflect on how this verse has given me
not only peace over the last decade but it also has established
joy in the midst of trials.
“and that is why I suffer these things.
But I am not ashamed,
because I know the One I have believed in
and am persuaded that He is able to guard
what has been entrusted to me until that day.
II Timothy 1: 12
Our family is dealing with growing pains.
I suppose this is the right term for this patch of time.
The only way I can express this season is to say if our family were
a piece of elastic, there has been gradual and rapid stretching away from
the hands who have held the elastic.
And just when our hearts settle into acceptance of this newly created space,
this new dimension, the elastic snaps back into place with a ricochet of hugs.
The elastic remains but changed.
No longer can you run your hand across its smooth surface as
it now possesses ruffles all along its length.
So when there are days when I feel the stretching as well as weeks
of slack, I remember that really in all things but especially regarding my children,
I know God will guard them as I continually entrust them to Him.
I wouldn’t entrust them to anyone but I am confident I can hand
them to their Maker because I know whom I have believed.
I know He remains tethered to me and my family.
I know He is the fullness of joy, because He is the
Designer of dragonflies and oceans and sunsets.
On sad or happy days,
He remains my joy.
Finished: Wild in the Hollows–such an incredibly honest and transparent memoir. I loved it.
Beach Reading: Big Little Lies– because I am going to the beach and it was on the Lucky Day shelf at the library.
May joy curl up beside you this weekend and bring you comfort.
And if it’s too hot, may joy come waving a fan to cool your body and soul.