My children, who currently range in age from 1-21 think I am the keeper of joy. This could be my fault. When I disappoint them, which is quite often, I do say “I steal joy and keep it in my pocket, so I don’t get lonely.”
They believe me.
I also tell them I will kick their lung out, and while I have never kicked a child’s lung out – they snap to in speedy fashion every time I say it. I recently overheard the vandals, our two and four-year-old son’s talking in their room. Sam said, “We gots to clween up dis mess of juice or mommy will kick owr lungs and steal all da joy.”
Charlie gave a little whimper and said, “Oh no… not da joy.”
Apparently even the two-year-old knows, he has two lungs, he can get by with just one. But the joy, you need the joy. Healthy fear is good fear. Although, they aren’t nearly scared enough otherwise they would stop vandalizing the toilets and setting fires.
Besides lung kicking and joy stealing, the children also have every confidence I am extremely wealthy, I am a medical doctor, and I require no sleep. Recently one of the man-babies texted me, “can I have $20?” I responded, “We don’t have any extra cash this week.” And he retorted, “Ok, so will you put it in my account now? I am at the gas station.”
OH! I am sorry, ABRA. FREAKIN. CADABRA. I take full credit for their mathematical shortcomings. They were homeschooled, I was their math teacher.
A boy is at the gas station. He asks his mom for $20. He has $0; his mom has $0. What time will the boy arrive in Toronto?
X= nervous breakdown squared
The children continually ask me medical questions. Sometimes I get pictures. “What is this growth?” Or “I tried to burn this thing off, does it look infected?” And my favorite, “I have a terrible headache what should I do?”
“After you are finished shaving your man-beard and take your Calculus test, try a couple ASPRIN!!!!!! Oh, and tell the wife and kids I said hey!”
Did I mention that 90% of my communications with the children takes place between 2 am and 5 am? Either someone is screaming their head off because they wet the bed or their foot is asleep, or one of the college kids is texting with random questions. Those texts always begin, “Are you awake?”
“Of course I am silly! It is 2:37 am! Who sleeps at this hour?? Let me guess; you need help with your English paper?”
“No, my foot is asleep, what should I do?”
And in some ways it is dear. They count on me. It was and is my job, to help them. And from 1 to 21 they still believe I can do anything. Granted, I am sleepy, but I am glad they think I’m so utterly remarkable.
From manifesting unavailable funds to sitting up all night, just in case, they need help studying for chemistry or waking a sleeping limb. I am their mom.
As a foster mom, sometimes my presence may only be temporary, still – I impart assurance, I am here.
Yesterday was hard. We had four people from our community in the grip of horrific tragedies. By mid afternoon I was emotionally depleted, discouraged, and afraid to answer text messages. In the midst of alerts involving unimaginable heartache, someone said: “Well, it is 9/11 – it is just a hopeless day.”
So it seemed.
It would have been nice if I was the genuine keeper of joy. Joy in reserve, joy I would have gladly distributed to any of those who were intentionally breathing, lest they die. Alas, I am not.
Just like I have never kicked anyone’s lung out, there is no joy in my pocket.
By 6:45 last night I was in bed. By 7:15 I was asleep.
I was out of tears.
I was wholly out of joy.
However….I am never without hope.
Sometimes it may feel like it, but deep in my bones I know; my hope comes from the Lord. Of all those whom I love that survived a nasty Sunday, they kept breathing because they held hope – hope in Jesus who offered life abundantly. In our society we associate abundance with monetary measurement. But life abundant is life loving Him, trusting in His relief.
Life abundant means there are no hopeless days.
All may appear lost, but if the worst case scenario is death, we know death is, in fact, the best case scenario. And the other stuff?
From the second story window, before sunrise, I sat looking out over our ranch. I could only make out shapes and shadows. And it would be this way for a while because of heavy cloud cover.
But, every once in a while the sky would explode with flashes of light. I could see the mesquite trees and the open fields, the creek, and scattered wildflowers.
As the lightening storm danced across the early morning sky, I reveled in the sight of the tranquil vision of our acreage. I caught myself straining to see, suddenly without cautioning my eyes would delight in the electric revelation of the unseen. Then darkness. I didn’t know when it was coming, but for the light design of rain on our tin roof and the rumble of the tempest – I knew light would return.
I was counting on it.
We can count on the Father. There is no loss of hope, not a solitary hopeless day. He has boundless means. He is Physician, Healer, and Lord. He never sleeps. He can see perfectly in the dark and brings light to our sleepy senses. Eternity will last infinitely longer than the wickedest day.
If all I can muster is faith, there is hope.
If all I can hope for is faith, He loves.
As long as He loves, there is joy… joy He keeps in His pocket so that we are never lonely and never without hope.
You can bet your lung on it…..
May your floors by sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami
And now these three remain faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13
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