Whenever I’m going through a tough time or hear of a friend struggling with an ongoing issue, the phrase Joy for the Journey pops into my mind. Over the course of our lives we find ourselves journeying all sorts of roads that we wouldn’t have chosen, yet there they are, and we have to keep taking one step at a time through what can feel like a foot of mud.
I shared a story last year at our Night of Joy that I want to share again because when I think of Joy for the Journey, this story comes to mind. I’m hoping that as we all continue to journey through the COVID-19 changes to our daily lives, we will look for ways to make the experience a good/joyful one. I realize some of you have suffered to a greater degree than others, yet we can all benefit from the reminder from Psalm 30:5b that “weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” There is light at the end of the tunnel!
Years ago, when I lived in Louisiana, a friend from church challenged me to join her in the Crescent City Classic 10k. This New Orleans tradition was known for being more like a parade than a serious race. There were jazz ensembles, people and dogs in costume, kids on bikes—you get the picture. But there was a problem. ’m the non-athletic type so the thought of jogging, walking or crawling 10k or 6.4 miles was not on my bucket list. Don’t get we wrong, I enjoy a light workout and walking on the treadmill while I watch Rachel Ray cook up something wonderful, but if its more than that—I’m out.
But I took the challenge. Come 10K day, I figured I was ready. I had walked my neighborhood several times and had prepared my fanny pack with everything a girl might need for such a journey. I had a Kleenex, Chapstick, a $5, a small bottled water, several band-aids, a tiny bottle of bubbles to get in on the party feel, and a Ziplock with several Lorna Doone cookies. Hey—I figured this was going to take me at least 2 hours so I didn’t want to get hangry in the middle of it.
Off we went. Yep, it was a parade on steroids. At one point however, I did kick up my pace a bit because I didn’t like being passed by a clown on stilts! About 4 miles into the journey and lots of those Dixie cup sized waters they are passing out along the route, my bladder was screaming. Much to my delight, around the next corner was a donut shop that had a bathroom. I was less concerned about my final time than my bladder, so we stopped. Well, guess what else the donut shop had? Donuts! Boy, was I glad I had that $5 bill in my fanny pack—especially since I had already eaten my cookies.
Nearing the finish line, I had to admit that I actually enjoyed the 10k. Yes, I had to stop twice to put band-aids over my blisters and yes, it started raining about mile 2 and I was wet, and yes, my body had aches and pains, but there was joy in the journey. Some joy I created, other was a surprise. Both matter when it comes to enduring something—especially, if it’s something we didn’t choose, like COVID-19. I encourage you to be intentional about adding some joy and be on the lookout for the unexpected that has come and is coming your way!
Application: Name three everyday kind of things that bring you joy and make your heart happy. How can you incorporate them into your current safer-at-home lifestyle?