“You show me the path of life.
In your presence there is fullness of joy;
In your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
“For you, O LORD, have made me glad by your work;
at the works of your hands I sing for joy.”
“Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth;”
In the last eight months I admit that I have rarely thought about what makes me joyful. I have tended to focus on what is making me sad, frightened, apprehensive, and what I’ve lost rather than what I’ve gained. Today I want to focus on what is bringing me joy because in the midst of sadness, loss, and struggle, there is always some joy.
Where am I finding great joy these days? Baseball. I love baseball. Baseball is now in the playoffs and my team, the Oakland A’s, just advanced to the next level. This brings me great joy even if it may last only for the next week or so.
Friends who live far away. Once COVID-19 hit, my life moved online like most everyone else’s. This has allowed two dear friends to join two of the book studies I am involved in. These are friends that I haven’t been able to see in person for some years as one lives in Minnesota and one lives in Texas. Yet now I get to see them and interact with them twice a week! It makes me so happy to study with them, learn from them, and just interact with them every week. Especially since my friend Scott is just as knowledgeable about baseball as he is about theology!
Books. I absolutely love books and reading. Yet is wasn’t a pleasure that I allowed myself very often before COVID-19 hit. Now I’m reading four books at once. Three are for book studies that I am in and one is for ‘pleasure’. I don’t know why this always amazes me but once again I’m am finding how one subject that I’m reading about often supports the other subject that I am reading about. I find joy in being challenged to change beliefs that I have held for years and to learn new ways of thinking and being.
Fall. I love the fall season. As we enter into fall, I find myself a little more energized by the cooler weather. Although there aren’t a lot of trees that change color around here, I can picture in my mind places that they are changing color. I find deep joy in knowing that God’s creation gets ‘splashy’ with brilliant yellows, oranges, and reds every fall.
Cats. I have two nine-year-old rescued boys who believe that everyone was created by God just to love on them. One or both will often sit out in our front yard waiting for people to walk by. Whichever one happens to be out there at the moment someone walks by, he will run up to this person, flop over on his back exposing his belly, enticing the stranger to pet him. Rarely does someone not oblige for a few minutes. I even saw a gentleman cross the street yesterday just to pet Miser. It brings me such joy to see the cats so happy and the joy on the people’s face as they lean over to give one a good belly rub.
What is putting a smile on your face these days? What is bringing you deep joy in the midst of the pandemic, the stressful election season and the continued protests around the country? What simple pleasures are you indulging in that bring peace to your heart and joy to your soul?
Let us pray...
Creator God, who set the cycle of seasons in motion, help us to continue seeing all of the joys and pleasures you sprinkle into our lives. Let us not get stuck in the uncertainties, stresses, and apprehensions of the world around us. Instead direct our eyes, ears and hearts to see all that brings smiles to our faces and causes our hearts to leap for joy. Thank you for all of the blessings you enfold us in. Amen.