I took all three of my kids to the doctor this past week, and on the way there, I couldn’t help but think of one of our past doctor office experiences…
It was summer time, and I had to take my two-year old son in for his well-child check at the clinic. I was pregnant with my third child at the time, and was moving slower than I would have liked. My oldest son was along for the ride and “a ride” is what doctor’s appointments tended to be for us. I don’t know why, but as soon as we enter the doctor’s office, a switch seems to go off in my little boys’ brains: “conquer and destroy!” They turn into little monsters (cute and lovable, but monsters nonetheless). This visit was no exception.
We waited “patiently” in the waiting room (which really means, I tried to keep the kids from jumping off all the lobby chairs, grabbing everything off the coffee tables, and in my 2 year olds case – putting random objects in his mouth.) When we got into the actual patient room, I continued to try to keep little hands from touching all the “fun and exciting stuff” inside the tiny room. I mean who doesn’t love to touch computer keys, blood pressure cuffs, tongue depressors? And then there is the convenient sink in the room that is just low enough that the boys can reach the handles and splash in the water!
By the time the medical assistant came into the room, and I answered all the introductory questions while trying to hold a squiggly two-year old, and mouthing quiet threats to my five-year old, who was doing laps around the examining table, I was emotionally exhausted…
But then the real fun started. I had stripped my little guy down to his diaper, so he could go out into the hallway where the community scale was located. I was vaguely interested in learning what his height and weight would be, but not nearly as interested in getting it over with so we could go home! I had just stood up to make my way to the door, when my five-year old decided to be a “helper” by opening the door for us. This provided the perfect opportunity for my two-year old to make his get-away.
Dimples flashing, giggles erupting, he raced out of the room. Maybe it was the lack of clothing (less wind resistance perhaps), or the fear of getting caught, but those little legs were a blur as he ran down the hall and made his way towards the lobby.
Determined to be a hero, my five-year old bolted out the door, to hunt down and capture his little brother. He was followed by me, frazzled pregnant mom waddling as quickly as I could down the hall. And finally, the bewildered medical assistant was bringing up the rear. Meanwhile, my two-year old is enjoying the game, the other patients in the lobby are enjoying the spectacle, and I’m praying he won’t make it out the front door.
When I finally caught up to my little escape artist, I glanced up at the front desk. The two women staring back at me looked less than amused. I was getting one of those: “Can’t you control your children” kind of looks.
Normally, at this point, my face would have been hot with embarrassment, I would have been angry at my kids for creating yet another “dog and pony show” while we were out in public, and I would have hastily grabbed my kids and booked it out there as fast as possible.
But instead, something wonderful happened. In the chaos of that moment, I felt the gentle, yet powerful presence of the Holy Spirit with me. And I also felt something that seemed a little out-of-place in the moment… that wonderful emotion that only comes from our amazing and gracious God. JOY!
You know, that “things are falling apart all around me, but somehow I don’t care,” kind of feeling? That: “I have every reason to scream, but instead I’m going to laugh,” kind of feeling! That: “I’m so blessed that I could burst,” kind of feeling. JOY! Not, to be confused with happiness, an emotion that is unable to be separated from the circumstance at hand.
No, this was Joy! Joy that God had given me two healthy, active, and inquisitive little boys. Little boys, that didn’t make life easy for me, and drove me a little crazy every day, but who also filled my life with adventures, and funny stories, and reminded me on a daily basis that life is not just about me.
As I grabbed my diaper clad little runaway, I couldn’t help but flash a smile at the women behind the desk and say out loud to my five-year old: “You were pretty fast! You almost caught him!” And as I made my way back down the hallway to the community scale, I thanked God for giving me a “heavenly perspective” at least for that moment in time on that particular day!
My God is so good. He not only meets my basic needs, but consistently goes above and beyond that. He has blessed me with so many wonderful things: a loving husband, healthy children, a wonderful home, friends to share life with – just to name a few. Then, on top of all the blessings, He gives me the strength and a sense of humor to deal with the not so wonderful things in this life. Scripture tells us that “The joy of the Lord is my strength” (Nehemiah 8:10) and “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning: (Psalm 30:5b). I have definitely found these things to be true in my life.
Lord, thank you for the gift of Joy. Please help me to revel in it on a daily basis. Help me to find the humor and the hidden gifts that are wrapped up in the chaotic moments of life. When I am tempted to wallow in the difficulties of my day, or the pain of the moment, remind me that Joy does come in the morning. Thank you for being my strength. Amen.