The last time I wrote, I wrote about abortion. It zapped me. I can’t just put the words on paper and walk away from them. Nothing has drastically changed since then. Today, just like yesterday and the day before that, thousands of little babies’ lives were taken. Things don’t immediately change because I blog about it.
It wears on me. I want to do more. I want to be more. But there is also this other side of the coin. There is laughter, there are friends, there is family, and there is blessed joy when I remember to let it flow.
A wise friend once told me, “It’s okay to be happy in a sin-sick world.” Those words have snowballed in my mind and are beginning to form a solid understanding.
In our lives there are going to be hurts to be had—too many I’m afraid. But in this life there are also going to be joys—uncountable joys.
Horrendous things ARE still happening. I will still go to the abortion mill on the dates I mentioned (I hope some of you will join us). As the days approach, I dread it all the more; but, just the same, I will go.
In the meantime, there is beauty all around me. I have been looking for it. I didn’t even know my heart was searching it out, but I am beginning to understand. I see it all around. It is in the most unexpected places and brings me to tears.
Tears of thankfulness.
I am not a person who cries at the drop of a hat. I know and love so many women who do. If you cry, they cry. They feel it, they love you, they cry with you. It is beautiful.
I haven’t felt like writing. I haven’t felt like cheering anyone else on, because I have been struggling to cheer myself on; but God is faithful to remind me to refocus.
Our oldest son went to a dance (for the food, according to him). I was helping to serve the meal that evening, and after the kids had all eaten and the actual dancing part began, I had time to sit and take it all in. (I had forgotten the awkward teen years of trying to figure out what that all looks like. :)
There was a young lady sitting next to me who is a bit delayed due to various health issues. She is slow and gentle in speech, always has a smile, and LOVES to dance. She was taking a break from dancing and watching the others. Her brother was on the dance floor, and it was him she was really watching. He is her younger brother, a picture of health. He is tall, handsome, strong—a textbook perfect young man.
You know what this girl thought and said as she sat there watching her brother, the brother who could do so many things she couldn’t? She said, “Oh, I’m so glad to see my brother dancing. He must be happy.”
Right there at the homeschool prom.
Tears of joy flowed because of the genuine, selfless love that this girl had for her brother. She who has so many reasons to grump and complain, but smiles instead. This girl whose body doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do in some ways, but does so much more than mine in others.
It was love. It was obvious, genuine, no-thought-to-self-but-only-the-one-she-loved LOVE.
It made me cry.
I thanked God for softening my heart enough to see it.
I learned from her.
There is joy in the mess. It’s okay to be happy in a broken world.
I took my children to a flea market (the Sale Barn for you local people) with a friend. We were just wandering around, enjoying all the randomness that is the American flea market. We bought a pocket knife, a butter dish, peaches, strawberries, and some Matchbox cars. It was a successful morning. On our way out, we stopped for my friend to talk to her brother. You know, in small towns someone is always running into someone they are related to. I don’t know her brother, but I know his story because his sister is my friend. He is not exactly a young man. He isn’t old either, but his children are raised and gone. You know who was accompanying him at the Sale Barn that day? A stroller full-up of little children—four children, ages four and under!
He wasn’t babysitting them for the morning. He is raising them.
Their parents got into drugs and everything that goes with that, and their children became collateral damage in the war with addiction that consumes. Mom and Dad have to go to jail or wherever they are now. What about the children? Either someone takes them, or they go into the system. Can you imagine the challenges and difficulties that come with taking in one child that has been living in the turmoil they were living in daily? Now imagine taking in four children in the same situation. These things do not instantaneously take care of themselves; there are emotional issues, behavioral issues, a long list of consequences. It can’t be easy. It is sacrifice—your money, your home, your energy, your time, YOURSELF. It is messy and complicated, but so beautiful. He is giving those children a chance. He loves them more than himself.
I just cried standing right by the fruit stand with everyone and their brother (literally) standing there. Thank you, God, for showing me the beauty in the midst of the mess.
Fast forward a week to a funeral. So many things I could say about this one day, but I will mention only one that stood out to me. There is a man in our family with a son who is severely disabled. This son was born with so many birth defects that I cannot name them all. He is in a wheelchair. He cannot talk, walk, or go to the bathroom like we do. He is 25 years old. I don’t know where his mother is, but I do know that in the 15 years I have known this man and his son, I have never seen her. It is always the two of them. This dad has to pick his son up out of his wheelchair to set him in a chair beside him. He has to feed him bite by bite, change his diaper, dress him, and brush his teeth each and every day.
You know what else he does?
He loves him to the fullest capacity.
He rubs his back when he is sitting next to him. His son leans his face right up next to his dad’s. He speaks softly and comfortingly to him. He doesn’t wallow in the unfairness of what life didn’t give him. He embraces what it did.
I cried watching this man love his son.
He inspires me to love my children better.
It is all around me, and it is all around you. We just have to open our eyes—our heart’s eyes—and see what is really happening. Terrible and heavy things are happening for sure; but also beautiful, selfless, humanity is all around us.
I want to be softened. I want to care for people in a real way. I want to learn from these people who have touched my life and don’t even know it. I want to touch someone else’s for the sake of the God I love.
I want to cry with those who cry and laugh with those who laugh.
It is going to be okay.
It really is okay to be happy in a hurting, sin-sick world.
Life is still worth the living, and there is much joy to be had if only we will allow it.
I’m going to take my children to the ice cream shop for no reason.
I’m going to try to be more intentional about playing, laughing, and enjoying the small beauties in the everyday ordinary.
Look around you, friend. Look for the beauty in the mess.
Thanks for sharing life,