What a year it has been.
I have a sense of deja vu as I write this, having said something very similar the last blog post I wrote. What a year. What a time.
This whole last year has brought some of the biggest changes and challenges I’ve ever experienced, as work and study occupied most of my time, leaving me with little time or energy to refresh my heart and soul. Beneath the wash of loneliness, overwhelm, mental and physical exhaustion, my well of joy ran low. The loneliness of disappointed hopes and feelings of isolation crept in, and as I buckled down to my work and studies (both things that God graciously provided), preparing and bracing for the years to come, my heart slumbered.
But God is good, and the seasons change, in the natural world as in the life and soul. I thank God for those changing seasons.
It is just in the last month or four that my heart has been able to soak up again that which renews that well of joy. I’ve been able to savor the beauty of life, as I’ve revisited the trails I love, breathing deep of the summertime and now the autumn, relishing the resiny warmth of the ponderosas, feeling the clean sweat of a woodsy ramble or the cool kiss of a rainy day, listening to the sound of footfall in cured-out grass, pine needle duff, and rocky creekbed, enjoying in an odd way the tingle of sunkissed skin and dirt under the fingernails, and dirt all over after a day working cows. I’ve tasted chokecherries and savored their astringent tartness on my tongue, and contented myself in the work of a small apple harvest. I’ve listened to the rain on my metal roof and embraced the raindrops on a breezy bluff. I have felt joy that I haven’t felt in a long time, if ever. And my heart has woken up again.
Sometimes in life, we wait and endure and persevere, fall flat on our face, pick ourselves up and keep going, and there’s never an end, or so it seems. Sometimes life is a weight, a heaviness, and hurts and unfulfilled dreams press in and stifle the joy we know is there, somewhere. And sometimes, God in his goodness lets us see the reward of that patient endurance. He doesn’t owe that to us, but in His lavishness He gives, and gives graciously.
To my delight, I’m feeling again the joy that prompted so much of my writing in the past, the sweetness and the savor of words on the page, the excitement of finding beauty in the underbrush, the contentment of fresh air and sunlight. And to that, God has added abundantly. To that, he has added the warmth of a strong hand in mine.
The well of joy is full. And running over.