raced the river

Last night, I raced the river (chasing the current like I thought I could catch up) with a silly smile across my face. The trees had shaken off the snow from the mysterious Spring storm and I shared the path with bikers, runners, dogs, and the most adorable lady with a walker. I threw my smile at all of them, giggling at the children who roamed unaware of the etiquette I assume is standard on any city path (don’t walk directly towards someone running in your direction).

I raced the river and caught several times on the breeze what C.S. Lewis would describe as “joy.” It was an excitement that fluttered with a “heaven-like longing” that cannot be fully satisfied on earth, but even the presence of the longing overflowed in delight.

Dr. Jerry Root explains one of the central themes in Lewis’s writing, heavily influenced from his own experiences with Joy. He spoke reverently in “Surprised by Joy,” his autobiography, about the brief passing moments where he experienced an unexplainable bliss and then was left to figure out how to experience it again.

Well, anyway… as I raced the river last night I knew I wouldn’t catch it. I knew I could not really take in the beauty of the cool early evening in the way I wanted to, the way the evening wanted me to. I think that was part of the blissful moment – knowing there was too much beauty to take in, even if I drank in every scene as I ran on the path.

So, my joy bubbled out because it couldn’t be contained. The river, the overcast sky, the families, the bikers, the little old lady with her walker, and the children wandering out into the middle of the action – all these very simple and mundane threads in the fabric of a Sunday night, but every bit a reason to smile.

Sunday evenings are great medicine for Monday mornings, yes? The scenes are different, but there is joy hidden in this day – the sunshine, the birds, and that crazy owl that is trying to tell me a story. I’m on my way to a staff meeting, but I’ll first be dropping off these little love bundles for “every day in May” creative challenge.

blessings, stamped and ready for sending
blessings, stamped and ready for sending

 

exhausted by joy

(First, I must admit that I’ve only just now recovered from a very colorful verbal exchange with my computer after it lost this entire post into the unknown cybersphere. As I go back and try to remember it, I can’t help but think it’s a little ironic.)

I have so many plausible excuses, really I do!
Chasing after early morning 2-year-old squeals and filling the night with laughter, for starters.

There’s something about Christmas that won’t let me sit down and spell it out, blog style. The rumble of excitement as family exchanges gifts with the lengthy explanations from every giver, the soaking in of silly faces with people who live too far, the together-ness that makes memories on it’s own… This joy can be exhausting!

It’ll park your eyes at a willing, wide-open stance. It will put dances into your toes. It will make you “poke the bear” until the bear revolts with a playful roar.

It will fill the air with delicious, contagious laughter that (I’m sure) seeped out from under the old wooden doors at my parent’s house and warmed the night trees.

Exhausted by joy.

I wonder if C.S. Lewis would say we are as likely to be exhausted by joy as we are surprised by joy. Well, I submit that it is so.

I wonder if Mary and Joseph were exhausted by joy. I wonder if, when Mary finally gave in to sleep, she felt more than just relief that her vagabond pregnancy had ended. I wonder if Mary’s soul was so full of joy at the coming of the Messiah that her heart got tired.

I wonder if receiving blessings and naming them in thanks can bring a good kind of exhaustion – one that wearies your bones into a prayerful posture.

I wonder at this beautiful Gift.
Christ, our Substitute for the debt our flesh owes.
Christ, our Provision for an eternal abundance of joy.
Christ, our Hope.

let LOVE fly like cRaZy