Joy in a Storm
I spent the last few weeks intently studying the eastern philosophies of yoga. The basic idea I gleaned in my time with the Baghdad Gita and Pantanjali's Sutra's was a life-goal of peace and balance. This is a worthy and good goal for us all, but further description felt neither too hot nor cold, unaffected- it left me a wanting for a bit more. Fast forward to Sunday at church when our pastor spoke on Philippians 4:4 which reads "Rejoice in the Lord aways; again I will say, rejoice." These words were written by the Apostle Paul in prison. Pastor Steve was reminding us that God offers people of faith an opportunity to do so much more than find a neutral place between hot and cold. Scripture teaches that our Heavenly Father desires to gift believers with the power to forgive the unforgivable, love our enemies, and experience joy in the midst of suffering and persecution.
I left the service eager to get something on paper to teach this encouraging Biblical lesson in one of our Prayer & Pose yoga sessions. But as often happens- God slowed me down in a "not so fast" fashion. While the words and teachings brought excitement to me, the events of this week demonstrated that faith could use a little stretching before I can teach this without hypocrisy. The question rose- the power of joy in all circumstances is available, but am I willing to exercise the faith to grasp it?
Last spring I found a lump. Keep in mind I've already done time in chemo complete with a double mastectomy and immediately knew the road that may be stretching ahead. Thankfully it was not cancer, but issues were found needing investigation and by the end of spring my medical record was complete with not only the ultrasound but and CT scan and MRI. Spring ended knowing there was "something in the pancreas" that we needed to keep and eye on for changes or growth. So I didn't worry- at all. In fact, when two appointments with my GI specialist were cancelled due to Covid quarantines I didn't even reschedule.
Fast forward to this week's routine check-up. My oncologist got after me a bit, and was horrified that I hadn't seen the GI doctor since seeing him last. He felt I was acting rather cavalier for someone with a "pancreatic tumor" (there goes my joy). Tumor in the pancreas? It was the first time I heard them use that term, and for some reason, it never occurred to me that the "something growing in the pancreas" would be an actual tumor. The urgency from my doctor threw me to a place far away from rejoicing- and from faith. A voice in my head reminded of the power available to me- and I flat out rejected it, eager to sulk in my new condition. Except truthfully there was no new condition, just a new perspective and a description of that same pesky thing in my pancreas.
I began to see the true struggle- the tumor wasn't causing my tears, it was a choice and perspective I was choosing to make. I was sitting in despair because I chose it over joy. One of these days I'm leaving this place and aching body for an eternal home that has no pain or sadness. Each day between then and now I have a choice to grasp the power of God in faith and experience the resulting joy, or choose to live steeped in panic and anxiety. This is a lesson I doubt I'll learn quickly, I'll need to relearn and rechoose every day- and I'm be
tting the same for you. But for today? I choose joy.