After Gideon's last dosage of steroids, he was having symptoms of withdrawal. He was shaking – his entire body. His legs were cramping up in muscle pain. He had just thrown up in a bucket he got out himself and announced that he was going to his room. I thought he was going to go cry, scream, maybe even hit some pillows over the pain coursing through his little body. I thought maybe he was going to kick his stuffed shark like he does whenever he feels overly angry about the fact that he has cancer. I had to check on him. I thought he would need hugs of comfort or maybe redirection if he was destroying furniture out of anger. What I witnessed: Gideon had his arms out. His face was tilted up. Peace was almost coming out as visible white light from his shining face as he spun around and around in slow motion circles singing, “Oh! This is gonna be a good life. It could really be a good life! Good life!”
What was that? How could he, while being so tormented, be so full of something more profound and deep than happiness? “Children are resilient,” is what I am told. I think it's more than that. Gideon gets it more than most: No tragedy, no horrendous or catastrophic event has the power to ruin a life. Why? Because of JOY.
It is a peaceful radiance during the crisis of life that resonates and spirals out of those who choose joy in every moment – even the excruciatingly painful ones. I say that is the most pliable moment, the most green with new growth situation we can come by. Our hearts are broken, and we see the promise in the day. We draw the air into our lungs and feel the life there. The sun has never been so bright, and those birds. Do they sing every morning? Because I didn't notice until now. We notice a stranger helping someone open a door and breathe in more of that joy. It's God. He is everywhere if we unlock the negative circumstances that jail us.
As my friend Kristen and I talked about, joy is much different than happiness. Happiness relies on positive circumstances while joy is that awe-inspiring flame that lights the soul amidst the most bleak of situations.
I'm going to find the joy. I plan to feel the love of the blessings I have around me. Like Gideon, I won't let anger and resentment paralyze me – my own anger or that of the people around me.
Gideon showed me God, once again. It IS gonna be a good life.
“'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” - Jeremiah 29:11