Prayers for Choirs: No. 1

Prayers for Choirs: No. 1

I've been thinking a lot about joy and sorrow lately.

At first, they seem like opposites: Most people don't feel a sense of joy in the midst of sorrow, right? But joy - it's hard to describe joy in a way that isn't tinged by sorrow. Joy is wise - it recognizes where we've come from, what we've been through; it acknowledges the sorrowful parts of our lives.

Someone recently described it like this:

We carry joy in our right hand, sorrow in our left. 

We walk through life with both in front of us, like we walk, one foot in front of the other. We can't have one without the other without losing balance. 

We walk through life knowing that it can't all be joy and it won't all be sorrow. But we recognize the value of both. 

We hold onto our joy in times of sorrow and remember our sorrow in times of joy. And when we come to God in prayer, we bring our hands - our joy and sorrow - together, and we pray.

Finding Joy

Count it all joyAll of it. That's quite the challenge, don't you think?  I find myself asking for compromise: "Can't I just pick a few really good things to be joyful about?"  Of course, I know the answer.  There is joy to be found all along the journey, not just at the scenic overlooks.  Your job is to seek it.  Seek joy.

I used to think joy meant turning into Pollyanna, determined to turn everything in life into a positive.  No, joy is deeper than that.  Joy is the bigger picture.  You can't soak it up as you run by onto the next thing in your day.  Stop.  Stand still.  Take a deep breath.

  • Joy is not dwelling on the things that went wrong but celebrating what went right.
  • Joy is accepting the imperfect with grace.
  • Joy is greater than anger and frustration.
  • Joy is spontaneous.  And contagious.
  • Joy is all around you.

Standing still in the midst of a world traveling a mile a minute, I think to myself, "There, you found it."  This is joy - larger than life and much larger than the little things that keep me spinning in circles day in and day out.  A wise friend reminds me often, "The joy is in the journey" and friends, the journey is so much more than just the distance between here and there!  In the midst of those crazy, circle-spinning days, there's joy in teaching, there's joy in helping others, there's joy in making music, there's joy in homemade blueberry muffins (even if they are from a box), and there's joy in sharing this journey with a sweet, funny, selfless man.

Find a moment today to just stop, quiet your heart and mind, and count it all joy.

Silly Faces

Sometimes, we need to take time to make silly faces.  It’s important.  In the midst of those days that overwhelm you, those not-so-fun grown-up to-do lists (how many more hyphens can I add to one sentence?!), and those times when life feels way too serious, remember what it feels like to be silly and laugh at yourself.

It started out innocently enough – just trying to take a nice picture together for the background on Steve’s phone.  Obviously, one of us was feeling a little silly that day.  This is now one of my favorite pictures because it makes me laugh every time I look at it.  It reminds me to not take life too seriously, to let go of the things that don’t matter, to laugh often, and to be thankfulWe took another silly picture for my phone background so I can remind myself of these things throughout each day.  The result:

Yes, take time to be silly.