In turn, there are good times in life when everything does not seem wrong. Everything isn't wonderful or overwhelmingly happy. But it's good. It's alright, it's pleasant. These are the times, I believe, that finding "joy in the Lord" is most accessible, because that sort of joy is often quiet and contented. It doesn't require wealth or impressive photography or acknowledgement from the world. It just is. And even in those times, there are also the exceptions--the untranslatable thing that rises above everything else, the singular fragment of bliss that surpasses all the "good" and the "alright", the thing that is "more good" than everything else.
I have experienced both of these times in abundance. I have experienced these exceptions. And since I spent my last post talking about the mundane frustrations of a gajillion doctor's appointments, today we're going to go in a positive direction.
A few weeks ago I went on "vacation" to Wisconsin. We went with a friend to see another friend (and her parents.) It's a short drive up there, just about three hours, and the country is simple and comforting. Lots of corn. Lots of fields. Lots of cornfields.
We even took pictures in the cornfields.
We also made meals together, and drank coffee and tea together.
We went to High Cliff Park and had adventures on the rocks.
We made mountains of food and had friends come over from near and far for a Friday-night barbecue. We sat around a fire pit drinking gin and tonics, munching on overzealously-prepared s'mores, laughing about life and laughing at each other.
It was, in every sense of the word, good. It was a good vacation.
But there are exceptions. And a part of me wants to mention the bad exceptions, because they happened, and they're small but important. Like when I got really dizzy for about an hour and had to lay down, and ended up taking a nap with Emily.
However, the "good" exception, that exceptional moment of goodness is where my heart really wants to be.
We were outside. It was nighttime. The stars were out.
It's a moment so exceptionally good, so overflowing with all the wonderful things that come from friendship and love, that I cannot even describe it here. It is so near to my heart that I cannot even find words worthy of giving.
It is the exception to all exceptions.
And that, my friends, is where God lives.
In those exceptional moments that tip the scales. He is there when things are exceptionally bad and there when things are exceptionally good. While the joy of the Lord is contentedness, quietness, and peace in the midst of the mundane, it can also exist in flashes of brilliance or despairing shadows.
These are the moments I don't write down. Sometimes I'm simply incapable of words. So much of our lives are captured in photographs and shared with immediacy as if they didn't happen unless someone else is aware.
But not every good thing has to impress others in order to be good, and certainly not to be exceptional. They are such exceptional moments that they deserve to exist only without tangible proof.
They go on uncaptured, except in our memories.