I am Exhausted from Joy

Sometimes naps are required in a brave life.    

Take that 2020! As I continue to figure out how my life will change from the Year-Plus of the Pandemic (will it ever end?!), I find myself exhausted with joy.

Once this whole pandemic thing started I recognized life as we all knew it was changing. There would be a before and an after. Change, specifically transition, would need to be embraced. My life would be changed as well as everything in the world around me.

True that, huh?!

May I quote my favorite book again?

“So here I am. I’ve figured out what these clothes mean—and don’t mean—and I’ve managed with some difficulty, to get myself dressed and out onto the dance floor. But would you believe it, halfway into the first number some jerk cuts in on me?

“Standing once again along the wall of the gymnasium, where I’ve stood before for different reasons, now licking the wounds of my damaged ego, I inquire as to the name of this intruder, and I find out his name is Life. They tell me he often cuts in on dancers. They also say that when he cuts in, he always cuts deep, so deep that it’s almost as if you have been cut in two and one part is left staring at the other, both open and vulnerable. They say this knife can go all the way to the dividing of soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and that it can even judge the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” –John Fischer, Real Christians Don’t Dance, P. 81.

Dang life. That’s 2020 and 2021. And lately I’m doing a lot of joyful dancing!

My one son is communicating with us again. They are one-sentence emails but it is something! One of his one-sentence emails says he loves us.

We have a new grandbaby. Grandbaby #6. Just when our youngest grandchild starts kindergarten here comes a new life. Being Oma is this entirely different kind of joy. It is hard to put words on it.

Anthony Neil

In the midst of the pandemic, John and I started a church. That’s a crazy brave story so we named our church Larger Story Church. Beginning in the pandemic will always be the core of our story. So take that 2020!

In just our first year we have seen incredible growth inside of our church family. I’ve been doing church work for 40 years now so when I say I’m seeing incredible growth know that I’ve not seen this in my previous 39 years. Not like this.

We are a hybrid church which means we use Zoom to meet together as we are also slowly growing to gather in person again. Except over half of us join from 3 different time zones. We will always be hybrid.

During Covid we used our home to Zoom out of and only our bubble was invited to worship in our home with us. Slowly we’ve opened that bubble and now our home is full. Good problem. We had to start looking for a larger space to rent. More importantly we need to set up all of our media equipment permanently to better the Zoom experience. This good problem is such a good problem because one of our members has offered to pay the first year’s rent!!!!!! You hear of stories like this. Now I’m living one!

All of this. This is the kind of joy you need a nap for. I’m exhausted.

James 1:2 paradoxically tells us, Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. Here joy is mixed with our pain. The truth is we are hardwired to make it through pain and we also get to feel joy. If you numb yourself from the pain, you will also protect yourself from the joys of life. This follows a truth from Dr. Brene’ Brown’s research, “We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.” (Daring Greatly:  How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, p. 137)

I have felt both. I’m not afraid of my pain but I may be afraid of my joy because I’m so tired!

Anne Lamott has said, “Joy is the best makeup.” At least I look good!

It’s nap time.

Sometimes naps are required in a brave life.    


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