Joy in the morning

I write my journal posts in the morning and usually do not re-read them. I you follow the journal, you know that it is fairly raw. I make a number of typographic errors. I tend to use a few too many run-on sentences. The entries could use a bit of editing. Yesterday, however, I took a few minutes to read what I had written after I had gone to the office. I wanted to check one of the stories I had told to make sure that I had respected those involved. It is a bit of a challenge for a pastor as I know a lot of stories of the lives of others and I want to have what I say be relevant and connected to the life of the community. On the other hand, the stories of others are not mine to tell and I know things that have been shared with me in confidence and that confidence is a trust that must be honored. So I just wanted to check. I decided that there was nothing in the journal post that was a problem in that sense, but that there were quite a few typographical errors. So I resolved to go back and fix the most obvious mistakes. However, my day got busy and I didn’t get around to that simple little task until this morning. I just went into the editing software and posted corrections to the most obvious errors.

The difference of a day, however, is fairly dramatic in my life. A lot of things happen each day. This morning as I read what I wrote yesterday, I found that I had gotten a bit whiny. I don’t mean to complain about my life and just publish stories of things that make me upset. In the first place, I have a wonderful life and I don’t really have that much about which to complain. I’ve been privileged in almost every aspect of my life. Sure, I’m human. I have some days that are better than others. But I count myself to be among the most fortunate of people. I have a loving family. I have meaningful work. I have a supportive congregation. I have an honored role in the community. I have a beautiful home in a beautiful setting. I have colleagues who are intelligent, competent and supportive. The list of joys in my life is far longer than the list of challenges.

So, to my regular readers, a quick apology: I don’t mean to complain in my journal posts. If I am truly a resurrection preacher as I claimed in yesterday’s journal entry, I should be about telling good news in the midst of this challenging and troubled world.

Today I want to celebrate some of the signs of hope that give me deep joy.

I am so grateful to have an incredible circle of friends and acquaintances who are the age of our children. There are some incredible people who are currently in their thirties who take the time to befriend me. I am genuinely impressed with their intelligence, compassion and energy. I am inspired by their dedication and commitment. Their lives are much different from my own. They are confident and competent with electronic technology. Their smart phones extend their community and they know how to use them to stay connected with their community. My devices seem to get in my way and I have no capacity for multitasking. But their attitude towards their devices is much less awkward than mine. But it isn’t just their attitude towards technology that impresses me. They have grown up knowing how to access great volumes of information. They can fact check a statement in seconds. They are continually sifting and sorting information in intelligent ways. The young adults in my life are building community that reaches beyond their age cohort. They are genuinely caring about their relationships with elders in ways that is genuinely impressive.

And they are becoming parents. The generation of our grandchildren are a deep gift of those young adults. Yesterday I walked down the hall in the church and a voice called out “hello” to me. It was a preschool student who is also active in our church. As I paused to greet her I was struck by how much she has changed in the past few months. She is much more confident and outgoing than was the case last spring. She is ready for preschool and is at home in this new environment of children. She is just one of many children who populate our church and my life.

The world is different from it was when I was 30 years younger. It is different from it was when I was a child. there are incredible challenges that face these people. But when I see who they are and spend time with them I am reminded over and over again of the great creativity, intelligence and leadership they are bringing into the world.

This morning as I look back at yesterday and recall my interactions with other people, I am not less aware that there is deep tragedy, pain and loss in the world. I am, however, filled with renewed hope as I see the caring and compassion with which people are treating each other. For each tragedy and grief I listed in yesterday’s journal entry there are communities of caring people who are responding with compassion, grace and dignity. My job gives me the opportunity to witness those who give of themselves to support their friends and neighbors. It gives me the joy of working in a building that fills with children each school day. It gives me real world examples of resurrection every day. It is not just tears and wailing and sorrow.

Natalie Sleeth was a hymn writer and composer who gave us some dramatic and wonderful songs. Her “Hymn of Promise” has been an inspiration for many and is used at all kinds of occasions. Another of her hymns is playin in my mind as I begin today: “There’ll be joy in the morning on that day, for the daylight will dawn when the darkness is gone, there’ll be joy in the morning on that day.”

That day seems to be today. May you rise to joy.

Copyright (c) 2019 by Ted E. Huffman. I wrote this. If you would like to share it, please direct your friends to my web site. If you'd like permission to copy, please send me an email. Thanks!