Love and Joy in Diversity

land j wedding 2“What means diverse?”

It was a question posed by a three-year-old who had not yet mastered the sentence structure of English yet was driven to master its lexicon.  Where had he heard this word, I wondered, and what had activated his curiosity to the degree that he would remember it and ask about it later?  I knew what the word meant, of course, but I wasn’t sure how to explain it on toddler level.  I don’t recall what I told him, though I do remember stumbling with some inadequate definition that I hoped would appease him.  I was pretty sure it didn’t.

It was the early 80s and “diversity,” neither the word nor its social implications, had become part of the daily news cycle as it is now.  Since then, technology has made our world smaller, and our nation and neighborhoods have become more diverse.  Legislation and court rulings have brought about much social change.  While many celebrate what they see as progress, others curse perceived threats to their values and religious freedoms.  For some people and in some situations, diversity has become a minefield.

But love conquers all.

And children grow up.

Earlier this year that three-year-old, now an adult, married the man of his dreams (assuming he even dared to dream of a time when such a thing would be possible).  The guest list of family and treasured friends reflected various racial and religious backgrounds, all gathered before a glorious Hill Country sunset.  The music was classical, the wedding service formal, all followed by a celebratory meal of down-home, Texas barbeque. This union, officiated by female clergy, created a multiethnic family and as much happiness as I have ever seen or felt.

This means love.l and J wedding 1

This means joy.

This means diverse.

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In the Movies: Joy

light-in-dark

Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.

– Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

 

Joy

hope-peace-joy“I’ve got joy like a fountain in my heart.”  You may recognize that as a line from an old Sunday School tune.  I remember singing it boldly along with the other verses which included “peace like a river” and “love like an ocean.”  All are good descriptors, but “joy like a fountain” is my favorite.  When joy happens, it bubbles up and out like water from a wellspring.

I recently had a conversation with a grieving friend.  Though she often feels sad, she is looking forward to what she calls her “new reality.”  Planning for a new residence, starting a small business, and being with family are all sources of joy.  Sometimes she feels guilty for being happy.  Other times she worries that people will judge her for being happy at a time when she should, in their view, be sorrowful.  Fortunately, joy bubbles up pushing all that aside, making room for brighter tomorrows.  I am lucky to be standing in the spray.

A Christmas Wish

beach sunrise

The winter solstice has passed, and we are on our way to longer days, shorter nights. It makes sense that we celebrate the birth of Jesus at about the same time as the world around us begins to grow brighter.

As we wait these last few days, I wish you hope.

I wish you love.

I wish you the joy of welcoming an infant savior into the world and the peace that comes from welcoming the adult Christ into your days.

Merry Christmas!