Joy is the whispering autumn wind making its way through the end of summer leaves. Joy is warmth in a mug, fuzzy sweaters, knotted pashminas and the woodsy, earthy scent of patchouli on my wrists. Joy is the piercing blue sky on a cool fall day, the juicy glow of orange pumpkins in a field. It’s Transylvania and the Hungarian countryside and brooding, damp chapels in Europe.
I was born in fall. It was made for me (I like to think). I would trade a gleaming week in the summer for the perfect autumn day. I was married on the perfect autumn day, and it was a creative, gracious wedding gift from God.
I’ve experienced joy in all these things. But most recently, I’ve experienced joy when the jar was empty, when all odds are stacked against my little girl. When everything is stripped away.
It comes out of nowhere, but it comes from the depths. It is intoxicating and heady, and I’m drawn to relish in it. Hardship brings us to the doorstep of the longings of our heart. We enter in, or we turn back in shame, weak, hurt, angry. The longings of my heart are many. But no earthly pleasure can quench this longing. Or gird me with strength to fight this battle.
It is when I stop, and feel the wind, touch the wet grass, see the sketches on the leaves, hear the creak of the maple tree, that I know this world is not my home. It is for but a moment. All this beauty, a gift, a glimpse of what’s to come.
And yet, even in this world He comes to give us rest, to give us a hope and future and joy in our present circumstances. I am ready to fight on days like today, when I feel the mercies of the morning ignite my spirit again. Even though I don’t always feel those mercies, I can still choose whether I want to step into them. I will not lose heart, though circumstances may assault me. I will continue to dream dreams and trust the One who lifts me out of the ash heap.