Saturday, February 21, 2015

One Word, Five Voices: Joy

I visited Haiti for the first time about six months ago and it gave me a serious spiritual ass-kicking that I hadn't fully expected. I left my comfy, larger-then-we-need, suburban, air-conditioned home thinking I knew all about joy, and what it is to be overflowing with happiness. I'd had two babies, been working years in a successful career, experienced wedded bliss for more than 10 years. The list could go on and on about the joyful things in my life.

But then I visited this beautiful place and realized I'd never been in a situation to experience joy the way the wonderful people of Haiti do. All my life, I've had all I've needed, and frankly, most of the things I've wanted, too. I went to Haiti knowing about the orphan crisis there and the level of poverty that permeates most of the country. I went knowing how corrupt the government can be and that well-paying jobs are scarce. I went there with all this "knowledge" and expected to find sadness and lack of hope. In some ways, that was true, but mostly, what I saw instead was something beautiful rising out of the ashes of all that injustice—a people so filled with joy that it was palpable. Their joy didn't come from a long list of accomplishments or successes, or accumulated possessions . . . their joy came from their great faith.

Now . . . did I know that true joy should come from faith and not this list of other stuff? Sure I did. But that's not what jarred me. To see that joy lived out in a group of people who have "nothing" by American standards and contrast that with the depression, anxiety and sadness Americans experience while surrounded by all their "stuff". . . that's what taught me a true lesson about joy.

We're the ones not getting it, friends. But Haitians—they understand fully. No matter the circumstances, in good or in bad—true joy comes from God.  
So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person
under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them
in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun. —Ecclesiastes 8:14-15


Check out what my friends think of today's word on their blogs: ShawnHeatherSteph and Brian.

1 comment:

Heather said...

I am glad you got to experience God moving in Haiti and in you. So grateful for that and you.