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21 April, 2019

We Choose Joy

Transition is a real phenomenon. What happens between already and not yet is not easy to articulate or to navigate. But here we are, full on in transition. We know we are not alone, but it can feel like it. That’s how it is.

An author whose writing helps us as we transition reminds us that it is very important to acknowledge our endings well, so we leave no unfinished business of heart, mind or hands when heading into new beginnings. She also makes a metaphor for Easter from the phases of transition. She notes that the disciples of Jesus suddenly faced an unexpected ending when He died. Friday night and all day Saturday we can imagine the “disengagement, dismantling, dis-identifying, disenchantment and disorientation they experienced.” (https://www.wattsyourpathway.co.uk/2019/04/12/endings/)

We are moving back and forth within these components of transition as we prepare to leave Uganda and begin life anew in Indiana. But unlike the disciples of Jesus, we know ahead of time about Easter morning. We know the resurrection joy even as we contemplate the suffering of the cross. We know that even during our disengagement, dismantling, and so on, that Christ is present. He is with us. He is the One whom we follow. He is our anchor.

Still, even though our Anchor is sure, we get a little storm-tossed in transition. But this is not something new to us and we have learned a few coping skills through the years. Self-care is important and acts of worship help to keep us grounded in Christ, focused on His goodness even when we feel like an island all alone in a deep sea.

So, this Easter weekend, while contemplating the Love of our Lord that compelled Him to suffer and be crucified for us, we chose to celebrate Love Himself. For us, celebrating the marriage of friends was the perfect scenario for us to celebrate God’s faithfulness to us all. And our acts of worship included dancing with joy, serving food to friends, praying blessings over others and reveling in God’s Presence with us. Listening to praise and worship music kept our hearts rejoicing and our minds focused on Christ.

This may be an ending for us of African celebrations like this, but we believe that the celebrations to come at the Feast of the Lamb will be even better. So, for now, between the already and the not yet, we choose joy, resurrection joy.

Credits: Photos at celebration of Colby and Natalie Gillespie, in Namuwongo, Kampala, Uganda
              Photos by Jeff Stanfield and by Lena M.