i had to laugh, like a crazy lady, i laughed while they cried and the Joy of the Lord sang on the CD. it was one of those laugh-or-you’ll-cry times, and so we made a cacophony of sound that afternoon drive home, as sweet-voiced singers crooned “i’ve got joy like a fountain.”

and i couldn’t help but think how joy is nothing the way it sounds, and love isn’t either. love isn’t all mush and flowery and hallmark-words and velvet kisses. no, it’s pure, stubborn, determination when all you want to do is quit.

and joy isn’t some beautiful feeling that percolates in your soul. no, it’s the decision to laugh when the world gives you reason to cry. it’s the decision to believe in peace, in spite of noise.

i am learning these things, and more. i am learning i can hurt a little boy’s feelings by telling him to “shush” when all he wants is to be heard and i am learning to ask little boys for forgiveness, over and over. to admit i am wrong. i am learning that sometimes it’s okay for them to throw fridge magnets if it means they’re actually getting along for once, and that it won’t kill me to stop and read stories when i still haven’t had my coffee.

but i’m also learning that sometimes i need my coffee. that sometimes i have to pack up a van full of four squirming boys and drive all the way to coffee-break and leave them in nursery before i can get it. and that it’s worth it, to sit in a room and discuss the miracles of Jesus and the taking up of cross and the dying, daily, with women whose backs hurt from bowing low to the the least of these.

today Joey made his mommy four pictures, because he’s going to see her tomorrow. she’s throwing him a birthday party and he’s been counting down the days, and he made her four pictures because “these will make her happy,” he said determinedly, stuffing them into his red backpack, the one that holds his treasures.

then he put the lids on his markers, and popped bubble wrap because “i like the sound, very much,” he said, his eyes glistening with the thrill, and i thought, this too is joy.

believing in those that love you. trying to make them happy. and taking the time to pop bubble wrap because you like the sound–very much.

(i am so behind in visiting your blogs friends… you’ve been so good about visiting mine; thank you. i hope to find time this weekend, as i will be visiting my sister, who just had a baby, and spending moments reading and resting…. love you all. please, keep praying?? thank you… thank you. we’re at your mercy.)