Joy took me to the woodshed.
WOOSH… as the sliding glass doors opened automatically, there was a blast of fall air that caught me by surprise as the merry couple entered.
” Oh stop it, Bill!” I heard her say as she frowned and giggled all at once.
I looked up to see a little balding lady dressed in red and jingle bells with a Santa hat upon her bald head come limping/skipping through the wide doorway of the office. Standing next to her was a tall, plump man with a Santa hat upon his own newly shaved head poking her in the ribs in a playful, husband kind of way. He looked at her like she was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. They made quite an entrance with all their noisy banter and obnoxiously pro-Christmas cheer and took their place in the chairs next to me under a sign that read Cancer Treatment Center.
They annoyed me the instant I saw them. I am ashamed to say that I wanted to throat-punch a little bald lady with cancer. I did not want to be reminded that my circumstances were not really that bad. I was quite content being miserable and sad and feeling sorry for myself. And they ruined it.
I don’t have cancer, I needed lab work done. But she did. I was not dying, But she might. I was there simply because I was uncomfortable and needed a blood test. Bill and the Jingle Bell Lady were making me even more uncomfortable and I could not wait to get out of there. I was sitting next to two of the happiest people alive and they were completely encroaching on my alone time which I chose to use at that moment to be irritable. They giggled and jingled and laughed and talked and smiled and smooched. UHHGGG!!! The last thing I wanted at that moment was to see happy people who really didn’t have anything to be happy about as far as I could see getting their happiness on me while I was working so hard not to be happy.
You See, I have made an art out of being just miserable enough to hold onto my own miserable junk, pretending that I might need said junk for something later, perhaps to help another soul such as myself that would like to dance around in misery with me. Perhaps we could even mix our miseries together and create a perfect blend of poo soup to share. We could feed off each other.
Of course I was not consciously thinking this, but my old pre-Jesus nature tends to creep up when my circumstances are not conducive to my happiness. It pulls up all the crap I keep buried deep down, as if my circumstances and my crap are somehow connected. Then up it comes like projectile vomit, getting all over everything and everybody. Knowing all I know about grace, still I keep trying desperately to be somebody. To matter. To shine. To be good enough. To have all my sin, all the sin that others have poured upon me and all the horrific, unspeakable effects of it to do just one thing: Be very very important.
Let that notion go right now if your goal is to be Joyful. We all want to be happy but happiness and Joy are not the same things. Happiness is temporary and it’s based on where you are, what you have and who your with at the moment. But Joy… that’s another matter all together. Joy has nothing at all to do with your circumstances. Joy is about the hope and faith we have that God has got this whole thing in his hands. Joy is a celebration of our belief in his promises. It’s gratitude for every second, every breath of air in our lungs, His presence in our tragedy and loss, His hope. It’s truly magical. Joy is spiritual.
Now if your just looking for a place to hang out with your junk, then by all means stop here. The coffee is always on and I will be happy to talk to you for hours about how miserable we have all been and how it’s effected us. I am still working on letting it go and apparently I am still get so wrapped up in my own self that I don’t see the pain and suffering of others sometimes. But if you are looking for the Joy of the Lord, you will have to keep moving toward the cross and stop telling yourself the lies I’ve been telling my own entitled spirit.
Things like; What I’ve been through has made me what I am… I can use this stuff to help others…It’s my roots… It’s family… I can’t have gone through all this for nothing, it has to matter.
The truth is this; What I have been through made me the old sinful person I was, Christ has made me what I am; forgiven, redeemed, adopted, healed. I can’t use anything to help anyone, I don’t have that kind of power, but God can. I only have the power to choose where to plant my seeds so that my roots grow down into that place, I can choose to place my roots into Him. And No it does not have to matter…. why on earth we choose to relive our misery over and over is a crazy thing. But I have done it for years. It’s time it didn’t matter. It’s time that it was dead and gone and a new life with hope and joy and laughter and excitement begins. LET IT GO. Choose Joy instead. Choose to work with God to create the life you would be giddy to live. Choose to create. Choose to laugh. Choose to trust, to forgive, to believe, to hope, to wipe the slate clean. Choose Joy. No matter what your circumstances are. Let go of the drama, mama.
Finally, they called my name for lab work and as I walked through the door to the lab, I passed a room filled with chairs and I V bags and I realized that in just a few moments that is where Jingle Bell Wife would be sitting. I’d never seen that before. A sorrowful lump formed in my throat at just how ungrateful I could be.( Not because she needed my pity, certainly not. She had joy, she had doctors and a loving husband and jingle bells) but because once again I failed to recognize my worth to Christ and traded it instead for a few moments to play with my old, dead, dry bones.