Enjoying Joy

Enjoying Joy

There’s a Saturday Night Live skit called, “The Girl You Wished You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party.” Cecily Strong plays the role of the girl who’s characteristically drunk and ditzy, with know-it-all opinions in a pseudo-activist kind of way. She’s looking for a fight. The “straight man” is played by Seth Meyers.

“So are you excited about the holidays?” He asks.

“Excited? I’m repulsed! All this ‘mercialism around Christmas is an outrage! It’s a trajesty! It’s like, what are we even doing?” She scoffs.

“You really seem like you’re in the Christmas spirit,” he teases.

“You mean the Christ-mas spirit? Oh right, you don’t care about Jesus because you worship Hallmark.”

“Oh boy!” He looks away.

Then she asks him what he wants for Christmas…Continue reading

Returning to Design

Returning to Design

It was as if a ten-year-old had slipped into the classroom. She sounded joyful, but had to pause. Deep breaths, long exhales…and then tears.

Giant Wave curl“You love the sea. You love finding things on the beach, the smell of oil on tugboats, the wheelhouse, watching your Dad work, navigating. You love everything about boats—the engines, hull, decks, galley, cabins, crew, & more.

“You love sailboats. You love going on trips on the sea. The sea is in your blood.”

Her voice was childlike, but also insistent.

Joyful Girl“Remember when you used to play 4-square, baseball, basketball, imaginary games, space adventures, games in the field, fish, build forts, talk about God with friends, sit in the trees, search for pretty rocks?”

She spoke as if she knew her very well. Continue reading

Still The Mind

Still The Mind

Lord, I give you my creased brow and my gritted jaw. I hand over the rock in my stomach and surrender my fretful thoughts…how did I get in such a stew?

It starts like this…I met Amanda last summer. She’s a Canadian teacher who works with severely disabled kids. In particular, she described the ones who are permanently altered by their mothers’ alcohol abuse in pregnancy. They have “an abnormal appearance, short height, low body weight, small head size, poor coordination, low intelligence…and are more likely to have trouble in school, legal problems, (and) participate in high-risk behaviors.”[i] Her students are volatile, and can bite or turn violent in a heartbeat.

still willingAmanda has to enter her classroom wearing a Hazmat suit.

That one glimpse of the human condition can sink my boat for days, weeks, and then perpetually on a low simmer.

God, how can I trust You when suffering falls on the innocent? How can You bear the sorrow…

“But for the joy…”

His words distinctly interrupt my thoughts—if I’m paying attention.

Yet, God speaks in mysteries. I pondered that phrase for a while. It echoes what is written in Hebrews—“who for the joy set before Him endured the cross.”[ii] He’s promised a time when all things will be restored…where each life is sacred.  

It always comes down to a choice between despair and faith. Or I can limp along, still tormented in limbo.

Let me explain from a different angle.Continue reading