The bags under my eyes were heavy, but my smile was big on the other end of our phone call.
I told him about my day, and I remember laughing about something.
“Hey Scooter, you should write when you're happy.”
My dad’s words that came after my recovered laughter confused me a little.
“What do you mean? I do write when I’m happy.” I said.
“I know. But you also turn to writing when you’re struggling a lot of the time. Which isn’t bad, it’s good. But you haven’t put anything on your blog in a while.”
“I know, I’ve just been so busy I –”
“I know, trust me. You have. I’m not critiquing you. I’m just saying. Write when you’re happy.”
My dad was right. I haven’t put anything on here in a while. Reason being 75% actual busyness, and 25% major writers’ block. In fact, a folder now lives on my desktop named “Don’t Press Delete Just Yet”.
Collateral damage of months of writers’ block, where I’d get halfway through something, get frustrated and wonder if I should just trash it. But ultimately, my hope that I’ll come back to it wins and lands it in that folder.
I described my semester as a “rollercoaster” to my friends the other day.
This semester, my lows have felt like true low lows. Some gut-wrenching, like a stomach-flipping, massive rollercoaster drop.
My "last" surgery never seems to actually be the last. And there continues to be uncertainty around whether I’ll have more surgery or not. I’ve had more Hydrocephalus headaches and side effects than ever. I am still fighting chronic pain from my CP. I’ve struggled with feeling change happening in certain relationships close to me. I’ve prayed for a softened heart. And fear has often filled my head as I’ve thought about the future.
But while this semester has been really difficult at some points, my dad was right.
It has also been a really good one. Because I’ve learned a lot about what true joy is.
This semester, my rollercoaster highs have been high highs. Because I’ve learned a lot about what joy can be like, and it is eternal when you get it right.
True joy is early mornings, with coffee, spent in the Word. Even if an early morning means only four hours of sleep the night before.
True joy is remembering on a late-night FaceTime call, full of laughs, that my relationship with my brother will never change. We’ll always be two kids, who have each other’s’ backs and know how to make the other laugh hardest.
True joy is having phone calls with my grandma every Sunday.
True joy is eating pizookies in the middle of a busy week with a best friend, who has been a best friend since high school. And just knowing she’s going to be one of my best friends forever.
True joy is having sophomore girls huddle in my room every Tuesday and getting to witness growth in their walks with Jesus.
True joy is having my junior bible study come over the next night and getting to be challenged and loved by them, better than I deserve.
True joy is answering a friend’s call to “be irresponsible” with her, and going to get ice cream, late at night, when I really, really should be doing homework. True joy is not feeling guilty about it.
True joy is sitting in a parked car, talking to a friend for hours.
True joy is watching my parents together, and their story continue to unfold. True joy is realizing what a great example they have set for me and Hayden. True joy is seeing God’s hand in their story so obviously and tangibly, and something I love seeing and watching more every year.
True joy will always be coming home to an excited dog.
True joy is spending hours on top of my horse, in a big field, forgetting that I’m actually in the busy city of Orlando.
True joy is realizing that my identity is set in Christ. And it doesn’t rest in my grades, my disability or other people.
True joy is realizing that yes, I most likely will wake up in some sort of physical pain every day of my life, but that pain is a daily reminder that I can’t ignore that I need Jesus to get through the day. The joy is in the fact that because of my pain, I can be rooted in what’s important. Because of my pain, it’s hard to waiver from my need for Christ.
True joy is the small things. It’s realizing that the simple things are the things that matter. The things that will last.
This semester has rocked my world in so many ways.
But joy has been the underlying lesson and tone, even in the midst of some really hard stuff.
Dad, you’re right. Writing my words when I’m happy is important.
But I might argue that writing them down when I’m joyful is even more important.
There’s a difference, trust me.
This joy is eternal in ways that happiness never can be.
I’m thankful for a rollercoaster of a semester, growth and more lessons learned.
It’s almost time to say peace out to Fall 2018.
And I’m crazy thankful for all it has put me through.
“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 (NIV)