Take Joy in the Middle {31 Days of Celebrating Middle Age}




I want to be a writer of joy. 


I dream of crafting phrases that sit and smile at you, or leap off the page, grab you by the neck, and yank a grin out of you. Forcibly. I see too many blogs that angst. Angst can be exquisite once in awhile, especially when accompanied by the perfect music and evocative photography. Angst is poetic. I plan on angsting here on this blog once in awhile, just because, like a good sneeze, it's then out of my system, and I can go back to laughing. Who wants to live life in a perpetual sneeze?


However poetic it can write, who wants angst, just so she can be an "Ar-teest" ? I contend that, in our sophisticated modern culture, it is joy that has become prosaic. It is easier to write something that makes everyone cry. I've met people who are too torqued up to dance. Too educated to relax and say something silly. Too busy dying to their flesh, to live - seated in heavenly places in Christ.



My husband and I used to tool around the Smokies, some years ago, in Tim's old Geo Tracker - the famous "Barbie Jeep". Oh, how we miss that car!


What? You've never seen a pastor, with a ballcap on his head, a huge grin on his face, driving a red matchbox "jeep", with a teacup poodle in his lap? It was a sight not to be missed. There's no angst in that man - and he has as much to angst over as anyone else.



The car was old, it had a few rust spots, and yeah...if you sat in the back, you got a whiff of exhaust now and then. ::cough:: But we loved that car. You've never seen anything more unpretentious in your life. It was a joyful little car.


If you were to look at that red Tracker, you would not have thought in terms of great hymns of the faith, or heard classical music in your head. But were you to look up! Look out!   If you ever saw, suddenly, the way a breathtaking vista could unfold right before you...


...you would have hummed a few lines of a great old hymn.  Anyone with a poetic soul can be taken to mountaintop experiences, transported by a little prosaic joy. Looking up and out and beyond is the key. So is refusing to pay attention to what angsts you.


One day in the mountains, taking in all that beauty, someone yelled, "I cannot believe you can do this for FREE!"


Yes, there is a God, and He gives us fun things for free. It's just that we have a hard time conceiving of that sort of God. John Piper calls Him the Happy God. I bet you might have missed five fun free things just yesterday - were you too busy poetically angsting? We are too hung up on our own sanctification to cut loose and live like people who are complete in Him. Angst feels more spiritual than a spit-giggle...(you know - when you giggle so effortlessly, you spit all over the guy next to you)


I think laughter is "carbonated holiness".


We are convinced that the cave of Adullam (a low point in the Old Testament King David's life) was more pivotal, more formative in the life of King David than that near-naked dance of his. We feel more spiritual in Gideon's winepress, asking angsting, deeply theological questions, than simply crawling out of the winepress, strapping on our sword, finding our enemy and promptly sticking our tongue out at him. (That always gets the fight going...)


Please overlook me, these days, if you find me wahoo'ing or convulsed in a spit-giggle. I've been through some stuff of my own, hard stuff, and so I just wanna sing victory songs. I want to take joy. I want to write joy. I want to ooze joy. No joy, no strength. Know joy, know strength.


I need to be strong, right now. The middle is hard.  Yet, as a new friend of mine reminded me, the middle is exactly where we hit our stride!  I am ready to hit my stride, here mid-race.  I need to be inspired.  So no sad spiritual songs, no beautifully poetic angst, no hurling myself down, emotionally speaking, just to find out if those angels really will bear me up.


Having done all to stand, I am going to stand...dancing in my spot, armor clinking, helmet bobbing, gospel-shod feet sliding through the gravels in a little moon-walk, sword flourishing ....uh-huh...oh yeah...because I know the end of this thing. I win.


A little prosaic joy = insurance that I will live to fight another day.

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