“I am the boss and say I get more banana bread!”
This was just one of the gems from my 3 year old son yelled today. He had a tough day all around and thereby, we all did! The rain here in Columbia didn’t help as we headed into a the second socially distant week. I’ve heard from several folks that today was hard, and I believe it.
I understand the difficulty by the personal stresses here at the house and the communal stresses of a community trying to figure out how to live as church virtually. I don’t know it firsthand, but I hear the strains from health care workers and can only imagine the tremendous stresses of those sick and dying, as well as those with tremendous immediate financial emergencies.
I think it is important to post on such days–when things feel particularly heavy. It is a reminder that the call to joy is not just a call that comes at the natural moments when things seem smooth. The discipline of seeking joy each day means including the nearly impossible moments when cynicism, fatigue, and heartache dominate.
I consider joy especially now when it doesn’t make social sense and isn’t possible with my parenting to stand on the corner waving to traffic.
What it means to show up for joy in this time?
I don’t know. Living into joy seems easier when I can work with my kids to spell out “joy” with sticks and flowers on a walking path. I’ll keep trying on the soggy days like this one when it’s the last thing that my heart thinks it wants.
Joy often doesn’t present as a broad smile. Sometimes she sneaks up on a ZOOM meeting for stressed parents (as she did tonight) and laughs her way in. Or she looks like my precocious little boy comandeering my hiking boots and trudging them into the kitchen.
How about we let joy have the final say, even at the end of our sufferings: “I’m the boss! There will be more joy!” Hoping to show up tomorrow to whatever energy awaits..praying for you the same.
My favorite quote from Henri J.M. Nouwen: “Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.”