Joy Overpowers Despair

Many years ago in Houston, a nurse asked me to bring one of my choirs to entertain a group of children at an event.  Little did I know that I discovered an incredible display of life and love that transformed me and made a lasting impact on my students.  These are the moments for which teachers live.  We are honored when we have the opportunity to learn along with our students.

I prepared my choir for the event.  I explained the nature of the illness and that it is considered a terminal illness.  Each of my students seemed to absorb the information like a sponge.  Every one of them promising to do the very best job possible.  We were all prepared and ready to perform.

As we opened the doors of the room, we were taken back by what I saw.  One would expect that there would be a sense of gloom pervading the air, but that was not the case.  There was a lot of laughter and joy as clowns blew up balloons and children played games.  My students were invited to participate and help lead some of the activities.

Throughout the event, I walked up to different tables of families and had good conversations.  One person took me by surprise as we began to talk.  We discussed the nature of his child’s illness, and he said that “life is not measured by a number of years, but by the quality of the years that we are given.  How we live is what counts the most.”

I thanked him for his wisdom and left that particular conversation a new person.  This man taught me a great lesson.  It is possible to find joy, even in the midst of great pain. The center, the heart is where we find life.  And so, equipped with the knowledge that every moment must matter, we live more passionately, love more deeply.  What I experienced that day is faith in action.

Years went by, and my students graduated.  Several of them came back to visit me and share fond memories of the choir and how important being in the music program was to their lives.  Eventually, everyone that participated that wonderful day expressed their gratitude at having made a difference in the lives of the children.  They also shared how that one opportunity to sing at that particular venue changed their lives.  My heart filled with gratitude that all of us participated in such an incredible event.

Today in Jerusalem, I am grateful for the moments that we all share in ministry that is transformative and exciting.  We are reminded that our collective efforts gather us together and create actions and songs beyond our imagination.  All it takes is volunteering to be a part of the action.  Praise be to God, who gives us the victory in Jesus Christ, His Son.

About joekmac

I am a pastor in the United Methodist Tradition. I am the Pastor of Rio Rancho United Methodist Church in the New Mexico Annual Conference. I am married to Cazandra and have two sons with hemophilia.
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