Joy

Oh, stress is a thief of joy. Yet I keep opening the door and pointing him to the house safe. Life is described as a vapor, it is fleeting. If you’ve ever been around death you know it’s true, if you don’t agree, you’re still suffering from the immortality complex of the teen years (this complex led me to two broken ribs and a damaged spine).
If today really is all that I have for certain, and what I do matters for eternity, why do I waste these precious moments worrying about whether the dishes are washed, the laundry is folded, we’re running late, or there are weevils in our legumes? (Yes, we actually had weevils in our red lentils, which I discovered while making dinner for guests…it wasn’t until after I had poured them in the pot that I noticed them wiggling all over).
Our nation is obsessed with immortality, and really every great civilization has been. Everyone is searching for The Fountain of Youth because humanity can do everything else (or at least we think we can), but we cannot keep our lives. We can pretend to turn the clock back; we can fill fine lines that are a map of our past with botox, abandon the spouse of our youth who has grown old (which reminds us that we too are growing old), go “searching” for ourselves in every culture (which really means making the same mistakes in another language), but try as we might, we cannot extend our life even a second (which makes Matthew 6:27 an interesting read). Our bodies fade as quickly as they were given to us, and suddenly, life is gone. I want those few moments to be filled with rejoicing, not anxiety. It may sound like a bad Hallmark card, but I really do want to cherish it all.
James has grown so quickly. That bitty newborn who couldn’t stay awake long enough to eat, is now a five-month-old who scoots, rolls over, eats solids with relish, and drinks out of a cup. Five months have vanished before me, and I regret that so much of that time I was fretting over little things. This week James is in his own little growing pains so naps have been weird (lots of rolling over and playing in the crib–which is really hilarious to listen to) so when he fell asleep on me, I had a rare moment in which instead of worrying about the inevitable late bedtime, or what possible bad habits I could be creating I just snuggled up. I took advantage of that fleeting moment and napped with my baby (well, he napped, I mostly listened to him snore). And when those weevils poured from my jar of lentils, I laughed (and gagged as I saw their gross little forms taking over). Because those little moments–seconds really–are life. There are big things that happen, tragedies and victories which I rejoice in too, but those seemingly mundane moments of folding laundry and sweeping the floor make up much more of our lives. So, instead of just folding my laundry, I will continue to play peek-a-boo with every sheet and blanket I have to fold even though it takes twice the time, because one day (sooner than I would like) James won’t be a baby anymore, and peek-a-boo won’t be funny to a teenager, I will sing “I’ll Fly Away” for the fiftieth time while I’m doing dishes, because it still brings a giant grin to James’ face, and I will drop whatever I’m doing to spontaneously meet with Burk for lunch because he has a rare moment of time.
There is a reason the famous woman of Proverbs laughs at her tomorrow; she knows her God is in control, she knows the small things don’t matter and she is filled with the joy of the present. And as cliche as it has become, I want to be that woman. Because I know my God is sovereign and though I cannot keep my life, he keeps it for me, I know he is at work for his glory, and I know he has given me today. I will rejoice in everything because today is a gracious gift that I do not deserve, and these breaths I take are part of the life I have been given because my God hung on a tree to give it to me, I won’t waste it on anxiety. At least that’s my prayer.

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