Spring is here!!!
Ok, it's probably not. Based on Ohio weather trends it's likely to snow tomorrow. But today was sunshine and warmth, even as giant chunks of ice still lay melting from the past week's cold. It was the kind of day that found me driving with the windows partially down, singing and dancing in the car with my boys.
I love days like this, where even though the concerns in my life aren't any more or less than they were yesterday or will be tomorrow, the sun comes out and that's enough to remind me that life is what it is - happy. Am I still as much in debt today as I am when it's dark and snowy? You bet. Are my kids every bit as sleepless in this pseudo-spring as they are in the depths of winter? Absolutely. But for whatever reason as soon as I can comfortably leave the house without a coat I feel unencumbered not only by bulky outerwear, but by the constraints of every inner burden I've been carrying around as well.
It was only fitting when this song came on during our happy sunshine-y drive:
We all need reminders that happiness is a truth, not something that we can only experience as life's circumstances allow. It's a different kind of happiness, I think, than the glee that does come from things going our way - the whole 'everything's coming up roses' feeling. The happiness I'm referring to is a deeper sense of peace, a feeling of being spiritually and emotionally ok in the face of even the bad situations. I admit I'm not the best at this.
"It might seem crazy what I'm about to say ... I'm happy ..." I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances ... I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him ... - Philippians 4
In Mexico I prayed once with a woman who was living in what I would generously call a shack, constructed out of a random collection of materials found in a nearby landfill and tacked together to make walls and roof, with bedsheets standing in for any missing wall space. An elderly woman with very very little to her name, her prayer request was for her relatives who lived in a part of Mexico that she described as "very poor. They have nothing." She spoke of how blessed she was, and how worried she was for them because they didn't have the kind of blessings she had.
What? ... That perspective on life changed me. I don't believe she was necessarily speaking about physical provisions, but I also don't believe that physical provisions is how this woman measures blessings. As she spoke there was a sense that she was connected to an internal satisfaction that came by way of her closeness to God, her relationships, her ability to view the value of life as separate from the daily necessities of life itself.
I hope today is filled with joy for you, not because life is going well, or because you have a guarantee that things will get better, because you don't. I hope you are filled with joy because of the truth of who you are as a child of God. It's not about money trouble, it's not about family drama, it's not about meetings, presentations, bills, auto repairs, or grades. It's about the sun rising and setting each day on another opportunity to be in God's presence.
"Here come bad news ... give me all you got, and don't hold back ... I'll be just fine ... Can't nothing bring me down. Your love is too high." We are hard pressed ... but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair ... struck down, but not destroyed ... Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. - 2Corinthians 4