The Secret Path to Gladness (and Missing Socks)

Today an enormous weight was lifted. My son Abraham (16) slumped downstairs sleepily this morning with an announcement.  “I just figured out where socks go. Washers and dryers are portals to the cosmos. They get flung into outer space where they become stars and cluster into galaxies.”

         “Oh that makes so much sense,” I enthused, passing him a tall smoothie.  

         “Yeah,” he nodded sagely, barefoot. 

   The sun rose red through our windows as we readied for the day, collecting our papers, our lunches, our fragmented selves for the day. Micah, 14, would deliver his memorized speech today (Winston Churchill's "Never Give In" speech); Abraham would have a dentists' appointment midday, then play practice after school. I would be writing this post, editing essays for my next book, mailing off boxes, and maybe even squeezing in a walk to tend a bruised spirit. And still thinking about those socks orbiting the sun . .. (You know how they sway on the clothesline? They've heard stories of their brethren launching out, and they too yearn to be free . . ..)

 

 

I am still practicing joy. I am reading through the Bible this year, which plants the Psalms in front of me every morning. Here I have found great gladness mashed up with grave realities. Take Psalm 57, my favorite this week. 

David is writing. And he's in trouble (again). He wrote this about fleeing from Saul, who was  hunting him down like a dog, this young man, this harpist who made the unfortunate mistake of loving God and serving his king a little too well. He won some battles, slayed some giants, just a few too many, remember? Exhausted, desert-dry, weary-eyed, and not a little bit wounded in his spirit, he did the only thing he knew to survive: He wailed out:

Have pity on me, O God!!  Have pity on me,
    because my soul takes refuge in you.
        I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
            till the storms of destruction pass by.

Why does David bother to spend his voice and his strength calling out to a God he cannot see or hear? Because-----

I cry out to God Most High,
    to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
 He WILL send from heaven and save me;
    he WILL put to shame him who tramples on me. 
God WILL send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!

And here is the pattern of this short Psalm (and many others): The crushing reality of THIS time and place--- 

My soul is in the midst of lions;
    I lie down amid fiery beasts—
the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows,
    whose tongues are sharp swords.

Then the soaring reality of a God beyond time and space:

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
    Let your glory be over all the earth!

Careening again between Here:

They set a net for my steps;
    my soul was bowed down.
They dug a pit in my way,
    but they have fallen into it themselves. 

And there:

My heart is steadfast, O God,
    my heart is steadfast!
I will sing and make melody!
    Awake, my glory!
Awake, O harp and lyre!
    I will awake the dawn!

Nothing has changed for David, but everything has changed. By launching into heaven through his words, David enters the other reality: God is as near as the words on David's lips and pen. Can God love him that much? How can he not burst now with gladness? How can he not how see God and speak of Him EVERYWHERE?


I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
    I will sing praises to you among the nations.
For your steadfast love is great to the heavens,
    your faithfulness to the clouds.
 
And now he remembers what he wants most of all, even more than his own deliverance. 
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
    Let your glory be over all the earth!
 
 
What else is there?
 

In the midst of your trouble, Don't wait for relief to mysteriously appear. Go to the Psalms. They're a portal to Heaven, given for us, for the Church, for all ages. This year, I am doing more than praying the Psalms; I am writing out every Psalm in my own hand. Those words are becoming mine. 

 

  Like this,  every morning, I launch out far beyond our missing socks; I am spun from complaint to praise,                                                        from trouble to calm,                                                                               from mourning to gladness.  And you can launch out as well!   

 

Like this,  every morning, I launch out far beyond our missing socks;

I am spun from complaint to praise,

                                                       from trouble to calm,

                                                                              from mourning to gladness. 

And you can launch out as well! 

 

 

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
    Let your glory be over  ALL  the  earth !!!!