04-16-12 (Joy Walk)
Apr 16, 2012 07:15 PDT
‘She had an increased capacity for joy, acknowledging and embracing
everyday ordinary moments, creating ordinary joy in extraordinary
times.’ Author Unknown
I hope someone saw ME in this. I did. I’m improving on embracing those
everyday moments. I must. The alternative is unthinkable. As often as
I can, as my friend Aaron taught me, I will choose joy.
This is NOT something that comes naturally. It is a choice, one I need
to make every single time I start to slide down that path to
unhappiness, anger, bitterness. There are plenty of reasons to go
there. I’m sure you have them too. Just because someone puts on a
brave smile, that doesn’t mean their life is perfect.
Yesterday, I drove Bill to the coast after church. The weather was
beautiful—until we actually turned onto Highway One, heading north.
There, the sky was gray, but we were joyful because it was still
beautiful. The waves still crashed on the beach and we were laughing
because we’d been singing all the way there. He taught me songs from
World War One that he remembered. I introduced him to Beatles tunes
he’d never heard before. The Andrews Sisters—and Led Zeppelin; Joni
Mitchell and Cab Calloway. I don’t think we missed much, maybe Rap and
Hip hop, but we were okay with that.
We parked the car and walked out to a bench on a cliff. Below us people
walked their dogs, flew kites. Kids dug in the sand. One guy had food
for the gulls and he was holding it up, his arms high—and we watched
gulls TRYING to take that food from him, but being frustrated because
the wind kept lifting them away from the prize. Bill laughed. “So
close and yet so far.”
He sat, deep in thought and I excused myself to go for a walk. He has
become frailer lately and walking is difficult for him. I often
surreptitiously slip my hand under his arm for a bit of extra support,
especially on uneven surfaces, like paths to the beach. My goal is to
give him as much joy as I can in these older years, thus the songfest.
He had watched a little girl sitting in front of him at church, smiling
and winking at her. When we left, he told me, ‘That little girl loves
her daddy!’ and I could see him remembering those days with his own
little girl. I had a few memories of my own. We smiled. Memories can
be a choice for joy too, especially when the source of those memories
are not present.
”As long as I'm alive in this body, there is good work for me to do. If
I had to choose right now, I hardly know which I'd choose. Hard choice!
The desire to break camp here and be with Christ is powerful. Some days
I can think of nothing better. But most days, because of what you are
going through, I am sure that it's better for me to stick it out here.
So I plan to be around awhile, companion to you as your growth and joy
in this life of trusting God continues. You can start looking forward to
a great reunion when I come visit you again. We'll be praising Christ,
enjoying each other. Philippians 1:22-26 (MSG)
There is joy in the work of our hands. There is joy in acknowledging
the little things. As we drove past Amazon Park this morning in the
early morning light, Bill noticed the lights were on at a restroom
building. “I wonder how many people sleep in there?” he said—and we
sent up a quick ‘thank you’ for the roofs over our heads. I just bought
a cup of coffee for the young homeless black kid that was hovering
around Mc Donald’s. That was all he’d accept and he flashed me a
radiant grin. He walked off, whistling a tune and I praised God that he
too was choosing joy.
You can’t talk the talk unless you walk the walk. Today, for me, my
walk will be suffused with joy—and I’ll ask Him to show me all the
things I have to be joyful for.
Walk with me?