The title is from a song and comedy bit on Hee-Haw that aired on TV back when dirt was being invented.  Rick made reference to it on Sunday and it’s been on my mind since.  I spent Sunday nigh talking to a friend who is going through the emotions from the song title and spend a fair amount of my free time talking to others who know pain, despair and agony all too well.  It’s all around us.  Marriages on the rocks.  Death of a loved one.  Kids who are out of control.  A spouse who has been unemployed for too long.  A loved one going to prison. 

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And Christians are supposed to be a people of joy?  For real?

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I suppose that depends on my perspective.  Friends have asked me how I am doing and my response is generally the same.  If I want to look around and see darkness, I will see it.  If I want to look around and see light, I will see it.  It’s up to me on what I choose to focus on.  When I choose to focus on pain, I can find it in abundance with plenty to spare.  There are so many things that have gone wrong in my life and I dare say it could be that I’ve had more bad than good.  I think that’s just life.  But, if I choose to focus on the good, on the people who continuously share acts of kindness with me, people who are praying for me, people who have a smile or a hug, a text or phone call just to check in, I can find it.  Then I top it off with a decision. 

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I was a basketball player growing up.  I loved it.  LOVED it.  I spent more time in my driveway than anywhere else shooting basket after basket for years.  I dreamed of making the last second shot for the Texas Longhorns to win the national championship.  I played all the time – even when the high school varsity coach told me I wouldn’t play on his team – I kept playing and made the team and even a starting spot before illness took me out for the year.  I went to practice after practice.  I ran and ran and ran and ran and ran and…you get the idea.  I went through weeks of pain leading up to the season practicing over and over and it was often painful.  Yet I went through the pain for the opportunity to play for less than an hour per game because I found joy in playing the game.  The pain was worth it.

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I have to decide if the pain of this life is worth the joy of what comes in the next.  I can give up and give in to the pain here and now or I can run the race, endure the pain and stay focused on what God has planned.  It’s my choice.  Pain, despair and agony on me.  Maybe so but I refuse to wallow in it.  I will walk to the light.

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Grace and peace to you.
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