Monday, November 8, 2010

Oh, Joy!

Joy!  I am beginning to see this word crop everywhere. It's written on all sorts of things for the upcoming holidays...mugs, picture frames, ornaments, greeting cards, etc.  Is it an overused or misused word? What is real joy? Do you have it?

Naturally, my thoughts turn to the origin of joy:

"Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger."
– Luke 2:10-12

And, I remember that my sweet Blue-eyed Bride memorized the first fourteen verses of Luke 2  in second grade, which she recited as she, her little brother and older cousins put on a Christmas pageant for her grandparents.  My mother cried, as did I. Lots of joy going around.  

Now, I watch as that heritage is passed to little Hudson. The words "Jesus" and "Bible" are already in his growing seventeen-month-old vocabulary as a result of songs being sung to him. He brings us a lot of joy. I started praying before he was born for an awesome youth minister for his teenage years. Parents need all the help they can get to keep the joy in their lives as children grow up.

A few weeks ago, I observed two very different life stories on my trip to M.D. Anderson for my follow-up scans. (It's redundant, but I must say that this is the most AMAZING place--full of organized, caring, competent professionals. I would love going there if I wasn't going there for melanoma. I'm very thankful that it exists.) 

We arrived early Friday morning and made our way to the lab for blood work. Right away we ran into an elderly couple that we would see, again, as the day went on. She was the patient and in a wheel chair being pushed by her husband. I would like to give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he probably was just having a bad day or woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I don't, however, think that was the case. I think that it's more likely that, in the words of Ouiser Boudreaux, he had "just been in a bad mood for forty years." He was grouchy, impatient, mad because his wife was cold and needed a blanket, and LOUD. All of the women in the room were being held back from getting up and smacking him. I wanted him to have cancer (just for a little while) so he might be more understanding. I was sad for her and thought there must not be much joy in her life.

Then, we met a couple from east Texas. A state representative and his wife, who had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. The story they portrayed could not have been more opposite from the first couple. He was loving and attentive. She, daughter of a former pastor, exhibited a calm faith. In the midst of all that the uncertainty, there was joy. I wanted to know them better.

And, there beside me was the rock of my earthly existence. My own calm, patient, Godly husband, supporting me, laughing at me and with me, working on his laptop as our day of blood tests, PET scans, ultrasounds, and doctor appointments went on. What joy he brings to me!  An extra measure of patience was required because of a little piece of gum. I had not eaten since 8:00 p.m. the night before AND I forgot my toothbrush. So, I thought I should chew a piece of sugar-free gum to freshen my breath. My PET scan was scheduled for 9:30, right after my blood work. As the needle was inserted into my left arm to receive the radioactive dye, the questions came:

"Anything to eat in the last six hours?"  
"Anything to drink?"
"Any mints, gum?"
"Uh. I had a piece of gum. I didn't know about the mints and gum."

Put on the brakes; everything stops. Verdict:  go rearrange your appointments and come back in six hours.  So, I juggled the ultrasound, read a book, sat around and observed humanity, and tried to not bend the arm with the needle inserted or think of food.  As a result, my doctor didn't have the Pet scan results at the end of the day when I saw him.  It was Friday, so I didn't get the results until the following Tuesday. But, the results were good!  All my scans were clear. They were encouraged by the development of my vitiligo, and I don't have to go back for four months. There's some joy!

I just completed this book, and among the many memorable quotes that will stay with me is this one:

"I have found truly joyful Christians only in the Bible, 
in the Underground church, and in prison."
 --Richard Wurmbrand

I want to have that joy all the time!


  1. Amazing how a tiny piece of gum can cause so much trouble. Wonderful news on the test results! Wishing you happy appointment-free holidays!

  2. Wonderful news about the test results. So happy for you!

  3. So very happy for your good results. Praise God!
    Love you lots. Pam

  4. Praise God for good test results! Did you count it all joy when you faced the trial of the gum kind? :)