Sometimes, inspiration comes from strange places and circumstances arise to allow you to take advantage of it. That’s the back story for this week”s Five Minute Friday.
Our leader, Kate Motaung, presents us with the word for the week for us to ponder and promote with five minutes of uninterrupted writing. We then meet and greet at her place, http://katemotaung.com/2016/12/08/five-minute-friday-joy-guest-post/, to compare our words. I’m amazed with what comes out of our collective minds… not always great but always honest.
I’ll let Kate take over for a minute …
So I woke up this morning and wondered, What should the Five Minute Friday word be for this week?
Then I opened my email inbox and found a message from Andrew Budek-Schmeisser, long-time faithful member of the FMF community.
If you own the Five Minute Friday book, you’ll know that Susan Shipe dedicated the book to Andrew — a daily fighter and warrior against the ugly, horrific ravages of terminal cancer.
This morning Andrew shared a post he wrote in advance for this week’s Five Minute Friday linkup. He didn’t know the word yet — I hadn’t even chosen it yet — but his post was titled, Count it all joy.
I decided then and there that I had to share it with you here…
So — because of Andrew and the words he shared — this week’s Five Minute Friday prompt is JOY.
As Kate pointed out, we’ve already written on the prompt word a number of times. In fact, just three weeks ago the word was ENJOY. I’ve written on the prompt twice in my tenure here, as well as a sermon titled Joy … Joy … Joy. And I like to approach life with a sense of joy — always have and always will.
Which brings us to point two in the exercise. Normally, my Fridays are crammed with work and I don’t generally post until Saturday. Lo and behold, my afternoon opened up so — voila! — here’s my assignment on time!
The timer is set, so, it’s time to GO…
Reading Andrew’s story of suffering does not bring joy to mind. Watching my wife go through her trials with cancer did not bring joy to my mind. Watching anyone suffer physically or emotionally or financially is not joyful.
However, the common denominator between Andrew and Karen — and the countless other Christian brothers and sisters I’ve watched struggle through life — is their sense of joy. Certainly it’s not at the joy of the pain. But it is an internal barometer that let’s them see the joy in other, little, seemingly unnoticed things and events that bring them joy and a respite from their ills.
It’s an approach to life — even in struggling times. If you look for the good, you’ll certainly find it, just as if you look for the bad, it will find you. It’s an attitude. It’s knowing there is more to this life than just living day to day. It’s recognizing there is joy — inexplicable joy — on the other side.
It’s … STOP
… hard to see the Sonshine amid the dark, gloomy days. It’s easy to fall into the trap of Why me?
Where’s the joy?. Andrew says the answer is simple. The joy is in the process of showing up.
I lean on the words in Ecclesiastes at times like this … a time to be born, and a time to die … a time to weep, and a time to laugh … a time to mourn, and a time to dance … (Ecclesiastes 3). I know the promise of God will be there tomorrow. And because He lives, I can wait for tomorrow.
Life happens. It’s cyclical. There are good times and bad times. There are times when you want to stay huddled under the covers. But there is a time to shout with joy when the morning light pierces that darkness.
When Karen died, the nights seemed endless and darkness was everywhere. But morning came. There are shouts of joy in little things … in growing families … in being able to share my experiences with Karen and to honor her through the memories we’ve shared.
Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5b
We can wallow in the darkness … or we can shout with joy at the light!
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: God is listening all the time.