Finding Joy in Sticky Circumstances
Barbeque sauce has many uses and is a wonderful food condiment. But I would not recommend it for car-interior detailing.
How did I discover this nugget (ha … ha) of wisdom? Running late, as usual, I jumped into the car and grabbed the steering wheel… only to find I had difficulty letting go. Why? Because barbeque sauce becomes glue-like after it sits on a surface overnight.
I’ll back up a bit. The night before, Rachel and I had stopped at her favorite drive-thru for a snack. I usually order no condiments with her food. Knowing, however, I would be fixing an un-popular dinner, I decided to ask for a barbeque sauce, as it might make said meal go down easier for other members of the household.
Of course, mommy brain took over the moment I drove into the garage. I rushed inside to tackle all the chores, forgetting I had left the sauce behind. In the car. With Rachel.
While going about my mommy-ness, I pondered an upcoming talk I would give on the subject of joy. Only a few hours before I had written, “Joy is not based on circumstances.”
Sounds great, yes? Especially when applied to people—other people, to be exact.
So, back to the barbeque sauce. The morning had already been rough. Rachel had disagreed with having her teeth brushed and had stripped naked twice before we even made it into the garage. I couldn’t see out the back window because she had piled every available blanket in the back of the car the night before and threw a huge fit when I tried to take them out. Wanting to get both kids to school sometime this century, I surrendered that battle and jumped in the car, only to stick to it.
At drop off, wearing eldest’s extra gloves, I waved at one of the teachers on duty. She did a double take at my naked child surrounded by blankets in the backseat. The look on her face was not what I would call friendly after that. Not to make matters simpler, Rachel insisted on wearing the same dress she had worn the day before and hidden under Mt. Blankious.
We marched into school—with unmatched shoes—so she could begin her OCD routine of stepping on all the square tiles outside the school office, made more interesting by her choice of mismatched footwear. All of this with two huge ratty tangles in her hair sticking out like floppy puppy ears.
And, of course, a policeman happened to follow us in, giving Rachel and I the: I’m-sure-you-are-guilty-of-something stare that so many law officers have perfected. I smiled sweetly and said, “Autism is so much fun, isn’t it?”
By the time I broke Rachel from her tapping routine, I wanted to hide under my covers and cry. I felt anything but joyful, and I certainly didn’t want to offer praise for the events of the morning.
But that’s when the lesson hit home. Joy really can’t be based on circumstances. Those always let me down. My joy can only come from Jesus, the true joy-giver. Sometimes my biggest source of joy is imaging Heaven or just knowing that Jesus knows what I am going through.
He knows what you’re going through too. Choose joy today.