I know sometimes we go through dark nights of the soul. I know that it is always darkest before dawn. I know that millions of people have it worse than I do. I know that I am extremely happy that my dark night is over. I am happy, no joyful, to be reveling in the light of a new day. I don’t get excited about the good stuff enough. Sometimes I feel like such an inadequate Christian because I am such a realist. You know, I am not one of those Christians who walk around permanently blitzed because Jesus died for me, and that is enough. I never was the kid at church camp who wrote in the letter that I would send to myself how happy I was that I had found Jesus and now my troubles were over. Very young I knew better.
If I am happy or filled with joy about one thing, another very real fact always gets inside my head and sticks there. For example: I am not difficult to please. People say that I am hard to buy presents for, but it should be pretty easy because I even love Happy Meal toys. Anyway, I love the simpler things in life like hardback books, black raspberry slushes from Dairy Dream, good clove cigarettes, an excellent cup of African coffee, or a nap next to an open window with the breeze blowing in. But, while I enjoy these simple things my mind never stops processing. How many people cannot read? How many days of food could I buy for someone using the money I spend on coffee, slushes, or cloves? Who grew the coffee? How were they treated? Who harvested the tobacco? How many pesticides are in it? What effect are they having on the global environment? How fortunate am I to have a window to feel the breeze through rather than praying for a breeze to cool me down because I live in the weather instead of in a house? Why can’t I just be happy? Why can’t I be content? Why can’t I be one of those “Smiling Christians”?
While I was cleaning today at the mission, the woman who works with the families with children said, “I never knew I should be grateful to have a bed. If I had twenty beds, I could give them all away tomorrow.” It seems that several people have come to the mission who have been sleeping in sleeping bags on the hard floors of their houses. Can you imagine having enough money to buy or rent a house, but then not having enough money left to buy a bed? How sad.
I was reading my friend Sarah’s blog the other day, and I must say I applaud her for taking a stand against tradition and choosing to write her honors thesis from her heart. I know she will write from her head, too, using every bit of knowledge that she has spent a lifetime collecting, but her heart is her guide. Her deep emotions, not the superficial, oh I think I’ll wear lip gloss today emotions, but her real heart wrenching, soul clenching, life changing emotions, are so into this project. I can see that her longings for a better, more just world are forming her project. I would love to be so in love with a cause, a project, a people group, that I am willing to risk everything to make a difference. That is what I see her doing. I am not exactly sure what the complete idea of her thesis is, but I know she struggles with many of the same things I do. We are so privileged. What are we going to do with it? Leading with our hearts is the first step. I recommend checking out her blog, just click on Sarah.
I digress, and I ramble. I am tired. I am overjoyed. As David Crowder sings: “You are my joy, you are my joy, you are my joy!” I am joyful, but contemplative this evening. Good night.