Inconvenient Joy

It wasn't a good time for a walk. 

We'd been out for hours and still had a thirty minute drive home. Jonathan was leaving at 4:30am for work the next morning. We were skirting dangerously close to bedtime with our two children who thrive on keeping as close to nighttime schedules as possible. My new shoes were giving me blisters.

Like I said, it wasn't a good time. But, we needed this.  

In case you missed it, we just had a baby. And as much as I'd love to impress everyone with how quickly we've "bounced back", the truth is that recovery has been slow. Good and beautiful and full of rest, but also very, very slow. I'm ok with it most days. But there's also times I think I might lose my marbles over how much we've had to be indoors this Summer. 

That's when I end up begging Jonathan to take us somewhere--anywhere--with some green, a bit of sunlight and space to breathe in the open air. 

So we ignored convenience and sought out some beauty together. We watched Behr trot about under the green-burdened trees. We held hands and inhaled relief while the sun softly caressed the earth to sleep. 

I've learned more about fighting for joy in the past year than any other time of life. I've realized that it's rarely ever convenient to push back fear and seek out the light. It's laborious and uncomfortable (and will definitely give you blisters). In fact, it honestly feels easier in the moment to just sit in the dark. But that's when the need to cultivate joy is at it's highest. 

Read these verses and see how many references there are to active participation despite the bleak circumstances the writer is facing:

"O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me." Psalm 63:1-8

"earnestly I seek you" / "I will bless you"/ "when I remember you...and meditate on you" / "I will sing" / "my soul clings to you".  

Joy in the Lord can feel inconvenient but, it's worth every sweat drop of work you put into pursuing it.

>>> 

The pathway back to our car yawned into the embrace of the sunset. I found myself  walking slowly, wading as deeply as I could into the thick stream of yellow light. Remember this, I told myself. Remember this when the days are darker and you need to be brave. There is deeply satisfying, healing joy in the world and God brings it along right when I need it. 

So, no. It wasn't a good time for a walk.

Or maybe, it really was.