H2o devos sj 113009 What Color is your Joy?
St. Andrew’s Day
“Through trials and darkness fear and temptation
You look for deliverance and some revelation
With no song of spring you wait for the call
Could there be nothing at all…Oh Sing…
Joy joy joy in the morning
Joy joy in the afternoon
Joy joy joy for the child is born
This night the promise is given to you”
Sing Joy by Peter Mayer
More than a decade ago I experienced “burnout.” I knew there was something going on in me. The “fire” I used to have wasn’t as hot and omnipresent as it once was. Over the years I had heard more than once “burnout is the price you pay for caring.” And so I thought I was just experiencing “caregiver stress.” Yet, it was hard for me to say to myself or loved ones that I was “burned out.” I said things like, “I think I have some issues with burn out.” Which would be like a woman saying, “I think I have some issues with pregnancy.” For in both cases, you either are or you aren’t.
During this time I went to an event where biodots were distributed. You can read more about them at www.biodots.net. These amazing little dots measure temperature of the skin. Consequently they display a range of colors from violet (on the cool and relaxed end of the spectrum) to amber (at the warmer and stressed out end of the spectrum). I put a dot on and watched. Subsequently, I like to tell folks it turned deep amber, then black and then disintegrated and started smoking. (DISCLAIMER HERE- of course it didn’t do that, they are totally safe and wonderful) But, I happen to use hyperbole like that to make a point on average a million times a day. I was startled by what it revealed to me, my heart was heavy, my joy had run out. In the darkness my soul would wonder, “Could there be nothing at all?”
I then did what I normally do when I’m stressed, I ate something. I was eating popcorn by the handfuls and suddenly realized that I must have swallowed my biodot. (talk about even more stress). I politely asked for and received another one. At this point in the evening we had devotions. Basically, we just sang hymns. We sang old ones, new ones, familiar ones and ones that touched the very fabric of our souls. I looked down at my biodot. It had gone from amber to yellow to green to turquoise to blue and then deep violet. I was singing joy.
I have since come to realize that something Parker Palmer has written and said about burnout is quite true. He indicates burnout happens “because one is giving away something that isn’t theirs to give.” In other words, “I was hyper-functioning.” I was doing more, but actually being less. My spark was gone. It needed to be re-kindled.
And so I invite you to sing joy. Now I know that to sing may not be your gift. And if that’s the case I invite you to do something that is your gift. Try something or find something that rhymes with sing, like
- Bing joy (it’s a search engine)
- Bling joy (wear some joyful jewelry)
- Cling joy (hold onto someone)
- Ding joy (maybe you work in an auto repair shop)
- Fling joy (throw flowers or compliments around today)
- King joy (maybe playing checkers with someone is what you can do)
- Ning joy (social networking)
- Ping joy (
Pingpong or making crazy noises with someone)
- Ring joy (gather round in a circle and engulf someone with joy)
- Wing joy (watch the birds of the air, they don’t worry, Matthew 6)
- Zing joy (get the joy out there quickly)
I think this is what
It’s what Peter means when he sings, “Sing Joy.”