Thursday, December 16, 2010

Travelogues # 4


My son said to me this morning: "Mom, do you remember that part in the book we read where it talked about the little girl who saw the old man's joy when he thought his family was dead and they came back to him? And his joy was so big and so bright she couldn't even look at it and she had to bury her face in her uncle's shoulder?"

I remembered and I was rather taken off guard by him bringing it up after a long morning of him being miserable and sick. "Yes," I encouraged him, wondering what he was thinking about.

"Well, that is how I felt the other day watching all the Africans dance and sing at church. Their joy was so big and so happy it was hard for me to look at. And that is why I had to close my eyes and couldn't watch them for a while. It's was such big joy."

I had been worried about my son. Not only was he feeling yucky but we had spent a good part of yesterday visiting different townships in our area. The poverty, pain and injustice was overwhelming to take in as an adult. I was very aware of my young son and was watching him closely to see how he was processing it all.

The people he was talking about, the ones who were dancing and singing so freely to Jesus, many of them lived in the very townships we had visited. The fact that their joy was what he was ruminating about was so incredible, so challenging to me. I wonder how many of us are filled with a joy so big in this season of gratitude and celebration, that it is hard for a little child to even watch us?

"...Upon the deck of of the third ship there stood a lady in a blue cloak and a little child with a golden head. They came a little nearer and they could see the lady's face and suddenly the mad Frenchman gave a great cry, a cry so loud and wild it seemed to tear the the flowery sky into fragments and bring the whole dawn tumbling about them in confusion. 
Then he leaped from the harbor wall to the deck of the third ship, and Polly jumped into her uncle's arms and hid her face against his shoulder and did not see what happened. When she lifted her face again she found that the sun had risen and all the bells of the town were ringing. They made such a noise she thought that all the bells in the world must be ringing, pealing, and clashing over land and sea and land. 
The sailors were singing as they made their boats fast, and Tom was singing and so was she, and so were all the people in the world.
And all the souls on earth shall sing,
On Christmas day, on Christmas day;
And all the souls on earth shall sing,
On Christmas day in the morning. "
~ from I Saw Three Ships by Elizabeth Goudge 

~  "Joy is not the absence of suffering. It is the presence of God." ~ R. Schuller  ~


Jennifer Jo said...

My husband rolls his eyes at me...but I don't think that counts.

Really, though, you're kids are getting some amazing experiences. You'll be processing them for months!

svea said...

oh my heart is so filled with joy at the sweetness of your dear boy. What a heart he has, so much like his Mama. Thinking of you all , missing you lots, and looking forward to hearing the so much more from this wonderful trip. Love to you all an dyour parents too. =)- svea

Chelle said...

Love what Svea said.
Mish, this post so beautifully unwraps the secret of how to live a entirely joyful life.

And a little child shall lead them.


Lindsey said...

What a beautiful thing your little boy said -- I absolutely love it! Our God is so good to place that in his heart...I am really enjoying your thoughts on Africa...blessings to you & your family

rubyred said...

Your son's comment brought joy to my heart!