Each day, we are inundated with hateful social media posts, depressing news stories, and controversial blogs. And each day, I become a little more cynical.
I don’t intend to be cynical. It sort of just happens.
Another child abused, a plane crashed intentionally, a shooting in a church – I could go on and on. It’s not hard for me to think of things that can make me lose faith in the world.
I’m currently reading a book called Dangerous Wonder by Mike Yaconelli. I’ve only read three pages and was already struck by something profound. The author explains an old story told by a cattle farmer:
“A cow is nibbling on a tuft of grass in the middle of a field, moving from one tuft to the next, and before you know it he ends up at some grass next to the fence. Noticing a nice clump of green grass on the other side of the fence, the cow stumbles through an old tear in the fence and finds himself outside on the road. ‘Cows don’t intend to get lost,’ the farmer explained, ‘they just nibble their way to lostness.’”
I nibble my way to cynicism all the time. “This went wrong and that went wrong and then this was even worse than that!” It’s hard to be joyful when I work with such a difficult issue (and between you and me, it’s just as hard to be joyful when driving through Houston’s rush hour traffic). Every day I hear stories of abuse and experience great sadness. For every story of hope, I can tell you 10 more stories of despair.
The reality of heartbreak, pain, and abuse in this world is overwhelming.
That’s why moments of joy are moments I cling to. If I nibbled my way to cynicism, I can certainly nibble my way back to joy, right?
I experience joy when…
… a little girl stops by the Houston office to donate her birthday presents. Instead asking for gifts, she asked her friends to donate teddy bears for Love146’s Rapid Response Backpacks. She’s 9 years old.
… a Love146 colleague fosters and adopts a child in order to care for a vulnerable youth (it’s not always a bad thing to bring your work home with you).
… a Love146 staff member shares this quote from 12 year old Ariel in the Round Home: “I know they love me because every day they ask me, ‘How are you Ariel?’ In my two years of being here in the Round Home, I became very happy because it was only here where I felt that a lot of people love me. I know they love me because they send me to school and they provide everything that I need.”
I cling to these stories. They provide light in a world of darkness.
Finding joy in this world doesn’t mean turning your eyes from the atrocities of human trafficking. The children in our care don’t get this luxury, and neither do we.
It means that even as we face the realities of the latest news headline, we can still find moments of joy. Don’t let these nibbles of hope pass you by—instead, search for them. Celebrate them. And before you know it, you’ll find yourself on the joyful side of the fence.