Recently, I was having a bad day. You know the kind, an oversleep, out of your favorite breakfast food, Folgers coffee, toothpaste on the shirt kind of day. The very last thing I wanted to do that night when I got home from work was — well, anything! But, my son was having a different kind of day. You know the kind, a wake up carefree, play with toys until it’s time to go to Kindergarten, come home with no homework, and play until Dad gets home from work and make him play with you kind of day.
As I put my key in the door all I could think about was collapsing on the couch and doing not a single productive thing until bedtime. I no sooner got the door open before my son began to ask if we could go sledding. I really didn’t want to go, but bad coffee and toothpaste on my shirt was not a good reason not to. So, I began to do what my dad did before me and his before him in similar situations. I faked enthusiasm and got my snow clothes on. The girls opted to stay home this time so it was just going to be a man-trip.
We got to our hill and got positioned onto our sled for what was to be the first of many passes that night. I’m not sure when it happened, but at a certain point that night my son’s screams of joy — and mild terror — melted away my bad day and my fake enthusiasm became genuine. This wasn’t the first time this kind of thing has happened, and it certainly won’t be the last.
That night reminded me of the scripture in Psalm 127:3 where it says, “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.” How true those words are! Believe me, I know all too well that children can often feel much less like a blessing and more like a burden. I’m not denying that for one second. However, it seems like at key moments in my life they have been wonderful reminders to me that sometimes we need to let the worries of life stay home on the couch, instead, and get up and enjoy life’s finer things. Things like family, friends, laughter, joy, Legos, and even sledding.
What is it that is weighing you down? Are you sick of this winter darkness? Is work a burden? Have situations in your life turned out much differently than you had hoped? If you’re a parent of children feeling that way, I would encourage you to get off the couch, fake some enthusiasm if you have to, and let Jesus bring joy to your life through your children. What? Your kids bicker all the time? Mine too! Separate them and spend some one-on-one time. If your children are grown, gone, moved away or you don’t have any, get plugged into any one of the great local churches on the Peninsula and make some friends who can bring you some joy. Or dare I say, volunteer in a kids class. God will use those kids to bring joy to your hearts — even in the midst of a little chaos!
Nick Higgins is a husband, father, musician, and Associate Pastor at Kenai New Life.