JOY! Amazing Wonderful Joy!
As I sat in the birthing room with my daughter last week, waiting for the birth of my tenth grandchild, I scrolled through the photos on my phone and found this picture. My granddaughter expressing full on, no holds back, joy!
Her evident joy not only made me smile; it made me grin.
I’ve been to the Oregon coast many times with my children and grandchildren over the years, and it always amazes me that no matter how dismal a day it was or how cold the water was, the children were excited to be there. They did not complain that the water was freezing. Nor did they wish for sunshine when the sky was filled with clouds. The hike over the dunes to the beach was not a hardship, no matter how tired they were. They were at the beach, and that was all that mattered.
If they complained it may have been because a sibling had accidentally kicked sand in their face, but they never once wanted to leave. In fact, the only time the complaining truly started was when we gathered them up to go home.
Looking at this photo of pure joy, made me ponder. What happened to my joy? I wish I looked at all my circumstances like a child at the beach. Yes, the water may be cold and the sky laden with dark grey clouds, and the climb up the dune may be tiring, but in the grander scheme of things, it does not matter. I am at the beach!
Somewhere along the over half century of my life I lost sight of the beach and focused on the clouds. I got caught up in the many worries of the day and lost the wonder of this amazing complex life I have the crazy opportunity to enjoy. God has blessed me with a great deal and the greatest deal of all is that I can enjoy this life with him NOW. Not someday after I die, but now.
As I trudge up the dune of seemingly never-ending debt, he is there. I can choose to look at the hill before me with dread, or I can turn and look into his eyes. He winks at me and grins. He knows what is waiting for me on the other side, and challenges me to race on; to overcome. The beach awaits.
As I step my toe into the cold frigid water of broken relationships and forgotten dreams, he is there. I can choose to pull back and avoid entering into the dark waters, or I can turn and look into his eyes. He smiles at me and steps into the water before me, daring me to enter and feel the sand between my toes; the tug of the tide and the wonder of feeling like I am moving as I stand still. The beach is here.
As I frown at the clouds of doubt and uncertainty, he is there. I can choose to be discouraged and afraid of the looming storm, or I can turn and look into his eyes. His loving gaze transforms me, and he smiles. In his hand is a kite, and he invites me to run with him into the wind and watch the kite unfurl and rise high into the sky. The beach is the kingdom of heaven and it is now.
So as I look at the rest of this day, what do I choose to see? Where is my heart? What is my mind focused on? The dark or the light? The storm or the King of Storms?