Where is the Joy in this Journey?

Two boys...both in it to win!

Two boys...both in it to win!

As I write this, our son Jared is attempting to run his first marathon. The reason? It's on his bucket list. He's the type of kid that probably had a bucket list before the term came into vogue. He is always off on some new passion, adventure or quest.

So when he asked his friends and family for suggestions of music he could listen to while running, a couple of songs came to mind..."Stronger" by Kelly Clarkson, "Gonna Fly Now" (the theme from Rocky), and one of my personal favorites..."Joy in the Journey."  This is an old song by the Christian singer, Michael Card, and one that Tom & I listened to in the early years of our marriage (probably on a  cassette tape we made from our vinyl album!). Jared taunted me a bit for making such "mom" suggestions, saying the Rocky song was the only "half-way cool one," and the old Michael Card one was so "slow and cheesy," he wouldn't be running to it. Oh well. I'm a mom, and slow and cheesy is good enough for me. The name of my blog, "Wildness and Wonder," was actually inspired by this old song. The lyrics go like this:

There is a joy in the journey There's a light we can love on the way There is a wonder and wildness to life And freedom for those who obey

And all those who seek it shall find it A pardon for all who believe Hope for the hopeless and sight for the blind

To all who've been born of the Spirit And who share incarnation with Him Who belong to eternity stranded in time And weary of struggling with sin

Forget not the hope that's before you And never stop counting the cost Remember the hopelessness when you were lost

There is a joy in the journey There's a light we can love on the way There is a wonder and wildness to life And freedom for those who obey And freedom for those who obey

After I had made this song suggestion to Jared, it just kept rolling around in my head. Still, it was difficult to sing it. The words were clashing with the other thoughts at the forefront of my mind over the past few days...those of our dear friends' son who was just diagnosed with a rare and aggressive type of cancer. The lyrics, "there is a joy in the journey" kept repeating in my head, and I found myself asking, "Where? Where God? Where is the joy in THIS journey??"

This young man, a good friend of both of my boys in their growing up years, has brought so much joy to the lives of those around him. Through his sweet, handsome eyes one can see a twinkle of mischievousness and an introspective, thoughtful spirit. He is a bright star, a lover of falcons, and an Eagle Scout. He's a newly wed husband, a brother, and my dear friends' little boy, just barely all grown up.

And now this. This evil. This raging tumor inside. The battle has already begun...with biopsies, lab tests, statistics, meetings with doctors, research, hundreds of electronic messages, and countless prayers. Within a day, their world was turned upside-down and life as they knew it was put on indefinite "hold." He is running his own marathon, even though I'm sure "kicking cancer's butt" has never been on his bucket list.

As Jared started running this morning, the song lyrics popped into my head again. I'm still trying to sing it, but am focusing on these words: "forget not the hope that's before you" and "hope for the hopeless." I can't find joy in this journey, but I can cling to hope. Just as words fail to express the sadness and concern we feel now for our dear friends, so I pray for unspeakable joy at the end of this journey, when the battle is over and the victory won.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (Romans 15:13)