Friday, October 30, 2015

On finding joy in a joy-drained world

I have found myself in a joy-drain lately. You know...when the devastating rupture of Eden seems to invade the spaces we call "work" and "home" and even "recreation." The bleeding has drowned my soul, and the joy has swirled away. I grasp at fleeting moments, hoping to take hold of some kind of joy that lingers, but what of the moments that simply slip away? What are we to do, when "Kingdom come" evades and all we can muster is making it through?

"He tried to kill himself twice last week."
"Their marriage is over."
"The death toll is up to four."
"She can barely get out of bed anymore."

These words, they dump and pour and spill through my heart--a drain, taking the joy with them. How do we count joy, when it seems our lives are only tallying tragedies? 

I looked into her eyes, felt the fingers of her story wrap around my own. She was not immune to tragedy, having endured trial after trial under the added weight of mothering through it all. Single. Carrying Burden?....of six precious souls. Without home. Without hope. Joy was a foreign concept, a distant dream. And yet...the pressing on, the pressing in. The searching for joy, for faithfulness that does not seem real. 

I've learned that sometimes the faithfulness we recount is not that which we have experienced. It's borrowed. Because we journey together, we recount faithfulness together. And when you can't find faithfulness, you can borrow some of mine. When my joy leaks out, sometimes I need to sit next to yours. 

She fell into the arms of someone else's recounted faithfulness. It planted tiny, tender roots of joy in her life. She gleaned from those she chose to trust, and received the gift of a seed. It grows. Slowly, fragile in ground once drained of life. But it grows. She has a home, a place to gather her precious brood, and purpose with which to construct each day. And I call her "Hero," for recounting borrowed faithfulness. For digging deep to make way for that minuscule little seed, that will surely produce the fruit of joy-tales she can one day lend to someone else. 

Me? On the days when my joy-drain seems especially large, when the tragedies tally longer than faithful moments...I might borrow your own proclamation of joy, your account of God's faithful, steadfast love. Because sometimes I need to recount "kingdom come," even when I cannot find it in my story. 

Friend, let's lend and borrow joy, okay?