Tag: joy

Finding joy by running in the wind

My brown, wavy hair once grew to touch my shoulders. At that same time, my legs could move me faster than most young men when running full tilt. It is odd to remember the sensation, but one of the things I loved then was to feel my hair blowing in the wind created by my own endeavor, my own speed.

Four decades later, I still think of letting my now-white hair grow long just so I can experience that sensation again. I surely cannot run as fast, but I think I could run fast enough.

Why did that sensation strike me then and stay with me so long. Maybe it was the feeling of freedom. Maybe it was not psychological at all. It could merely have been the molecules of my hair roots massaging my scalp in a way that is pleasing, as when you touch the skin of a newborn baby. Maybe a bit of both.

When riding my bicycle, the same thing happened — hair blowing in the wind (no helmet) — but I do not have memories of feeling the same satisfaction. It’s as if my subconscious self minimized the feeling when machine-aided; something inside me knew when it was my energy alone creating the thrill.

Have you ever noticed in real life the difference between the speeds of light and sound? It doesn’t happen often. I noticed it clearly once as I watched a car entering a freeway in Dallas and plowing into the backend of a Ram pickup. I saw it, before I heard it — clearly. It was about 50 yards in front of me. That’s the difference between the speeds of light (seeing) and sound (hearing) in very non-technical terms.

I’ve also seen it on highways as the smoke from braking tires is seen before the squeal is heard. (I drive too much.)

Those two speeds are constant (though it gets technical). The difference is always there, but we don’t usually notice it.

The key is noticing.

There may be another factor in my experience. I didn’t have it until I was in my upper teens.

I grew up with a crew cut (very short) then migrated to a longer-but-well-trimmed haircut. During my crew-cut years, I never experienced the sensation of hair blowing in the wind. When my hair got a little longer, hair blowing in the wind meant only that my well-oiled hairdo had been disturbed — not good when your hair has to look just so.

When, at about 17, I let my hair begin to grow longer (against Dad’s wishes), I experienced something new — for me.  Sometimes the wind, on its own, blew my hair this way and that into a mess. But running differed. When I ran, the wind pushed my hair back and away from my eyes, and I finally noticed the joy of it.

I felt free, as if in some small way I was escaping time and space and simply experiencing pleasure in that moment. We really need to at times to just feel the joy of being human — created in the image of God, who clearly loves joy.

Moral of the story: When we move through life using the gifts God has implanted in us we can experience great joys and little joys. When we don’t use those gifts, we never know what we are missing. That’s why it’s so important for us to tell each other about the little and odd joys that just come from living as the gifted persons God has made each of us to be. It may encourage someone else to live a little.

And here is one more thought: Some Christians seem afraid of freedom and joy. They are bound up in fear and anger. This is so sad. The world turned to Jesus because of the love, forgiveness, hope, joy, and celebration that He has brought to living. We need only notice it.

And, don’t tempt me, or I may let my white hair grow long, part it down the middle again, and run like the wind — or more like a breeze. Trese, however, would not like that look on me, so I may need to just dream it.

 

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A life to light up other lives

Sheila

One of my daughters said goodbye to a friend the other day–a goodbye reaching into eternity.

This was a hard goodbye on those left behind. Cancer took Sheila while she was way too young, leaving behind three children at the edge of adulthood. But it was more than that. Sheila brightened a thousand days with her smile and her glowing personality; in fact, she glowed through every day, even in the midst of a frustrating battle with cancer.

I’m reminded of a passage in Cormac McCarthy’s novel, No Country for Old Men. A character named Ellis said: “I think by the time you’re grown you’re as happy as you’re goin to be. You’ll have good times and bad times, but in the end you’ll be happy as you was before. Or as unhappy. I’ve knowed people that just never did get the hang of it.”

When it came to being happy, Sheila got the hang of it. She had tough times in life besides the cancer, but she was happy. I know some other people who have lives of much more comfort, health, prosperity, and length, yet they are not nearly as happy as Sheila was until the very end.

And by happy I don’t mean frivolous jocularity. I mean joy, for Sheila was a deep lover and follower of Christ.

Joy comes to the Christian from God, not from pleasurable circumstances. It comes into one’s soul and works its way out through one’s living. That was Sheila.

Cormac McCarthy’s character, Ellis, was missing something. He didn’t account for the change God can bring in a life. Through Christ, it is possible to find joy and happiness, even when life is very, very difficult.

Sheila showed this to all who knew her. I wish you all could have known her, but you probably know someone else who is like her. May we all be more joyful in living the life God has given us, even when it is a difficult life.