To say that things have been rough lately would be an understatement. As I’ve been watching the slow dissolution of a relationship that has meant the world to me, I’ve been filled with a melancholy beyond belief. My sister, in a recent conversation, described it as “emotionally living paycheck to paycheck.” The bleakness surrounding me was not made better by the phone call alerting me that my mom had been taken to the emergency room experiencing difficulty breathing (she’s better now, thankfully!).
Over the weekend, against this backdrop, I found myself in front of the TV. In an effort to shut off the dark sense of foreboding, I flipped past the talking heads with their prognostications of despair. Instead I tried to make a conscious effort to follow the scripture that says we are to think on things that are good and of good report.
Browsing through the menu I came across an old movie (Sister Act II: Back In The Habit) and began to think of what’s been missing with me lately. As Lauryn Hill lifted that amazing voice she has, I began to wonder if perhaps I’ve spent too much time focusing on temporal to the exclusion of the eternal.
Joyful, joyful, we adore thee
God of glory, lord of love
Hearts unfold like flowers before thee
Opening to the sun above
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness
Drive the dark of doubt away
Giver of immortal gladness
Fill us with the light of day
All thy work with joy surround thee
Earth and heaven reflect thy rays
Stars and angels sing around thee
Center of unbroken praise
Field and forest, vale and mountain
Chanting bird and flowing fountain
Call us to rejoice in thee
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, rejoice
Mortals, join the mighty chorus
Which the morning stars began
Father love is reignning o’er us
Brother love binds man to man
Ever singing, march we onward
Victors in the midst of strife
Joyful music leads us sunward
In the triumph song of life
In the triumph song of life
As Lauryn sang, melt the clouds of sin and sadness, drive the dark of doubt away, it really hit me that there are times where I am directly responsible for the dark cloud that sometimes hovers over me. When all is dark outside, perhaps part of that is caused because I’ve forgotten to think on the “Giver of immortal gladness.”
I often use the refrain God is Good ALL the Time and yet lately all the ugliness has competed with that thought and I feel squeezed. I don’t know all the causes or even the remedies to the unfolding ugliness in my life. The blame game is in full effect on both sides of the aisle. And for me, as I would suspect for many of us, it is so easy to get caught up in that game.
I don’t know what the solution is for you when faced with real ugliness, but for me the requirement seems to mean shifting my focus. That doesn’t mean acting as if everything is peaches and cream, but it does mean putting on something uplifting that reminds me that Father love is reigning o’er us and that even in the midst of the darkness in my life He really is good…ALL the time.
That’s my heart this morning! It’s still filled with sadness and I’ve certainly got my opinions on the who/why/what, etc. But this morning I am making a conscious determination that my focus will be on the goodness of God! Even when the storm around me is in the height of its fury, joyful music leads us sunward, in the triumph song of life.