Are we having Fun?

Am I able to celebrate good things when bad things are happening?

Sometimes I fall into the trap of waiting for my circumstances to line up just right, everyone to be nice to me, and the stars to align before I allow myself to enjoy life.

Of course, these things have never actually occurred at the same time so rather than living a life doomed to moping around, I’ve decided to enjoy the good things even when bad things are happening.

In the last month two friends of mine have died which has been hard, yet even in walking through the grieving process with their families there have been moments of joy. I remember Andy accidentally tackling a fake plant in church when I was a boy (he was trying to keep it from falling but ended up wrestling it to the ground in the middle of the music). I remember Hughie walking with his arm swinging the funny little way it did.

Losing them was hard, but it was REAL.

Remember when you were in high school? Moping around because you were so busy and stressed out? I do. Now I look back and have a laugh and wish I could tell past me to relax a little. I can remember caring so much about what everyone thought of me, but what I can’t remember is the last time I actually saw anyone from those days. It’s sad to get all worked up for nothing. I suspect future me would tell current me to chill a bit?

My Neela is seven and a fun, spontaneous girl. Her highs and lows last about fourteen seconds before she’s forgotten all about it and skips off to the next adventure.

The older I get the more my body seems to remind me that things don’t work as well as they used to. I have to be careful playing sports and being active. Heck, I have to be careful walking down the stairs.

Neela takes the stairs two at a time while juggling several items and running multiple conversations with her sisters and imaginary unicorns she’s playing with. I think she exists to keep my heart rate up. I’m always on her to “Slow down!” and “Pay Attention!” But secretly I’m glad she doesn’t know enough to be afraid yet.

The more years that go by the harder I find it is to let go of pain and hard memories. I suppose the more responsible you are for people the more pain you’ll have to live through, but it does seem to build up in funny places. I guess if I had to stop and think about it I could find more bad memories than happy ones, and that brings me up short….

I don’t want to live that way.

What qualifies as a good moment? What qualifies as a bad one? It sure seems to me like when the worst things happen something inside of us feels guilty for enjoying a moment of respite. I’m all for respecting someone who has suffered loss, but I would love to lift them a little too when the time is right.

Last week we were sitting at the kitchen table with some lifelong friends and most of us had tears in our eyes. Something was said accidentally that was a bit ridiculous and I honestly can’t recall what it was, but it started us laughing and we couldn’t stop. We probably should have felt guilty but we didn’t, and I came to the conclusion that I was lucky to have my people with me.

We’ve been together in the valleys and on the mountains. We didn’t desire relationships that were cheap or shallow, and it is paying off. I never have a thought about what my people think of me or if my reputation is safe when they speak in my absence. If I’m laughing they don’t question my motives. They know all about me. That’s what makes them my people.

Some days there is pain and some days joy. I won’t try to numb one or the other anymore.

It might be the only way to feel truly alive…

Now Neela…
WHAT did the unicorn say??

Corey Kope

Pastor. Father of 4 beauties. Devoted husband, Liverpool fan, and Jesus follower.

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