The Sounding Joy

Several days ago, my girlfriend's dad heard a doctor say maybe pancreatic cancer; we'll have to do some tests. He's to have his test this coming Monday and we'll know something more then. For him, for her, for all of us, it's been days of uncertainty.

I don't know what this day will bring

Will it be disappointing, filled with longed for things?

I don't know what tomorrow holds...

A friend was flying in from New York yesterday. He arrived in Dallas to delays, and mechanical problems, and a flight schedule run amuck. Finally, he landed in Co Springs after a day of amuck. Another friend will fly out this morning with his family to visit his brother in CA. His brother, his little brother, is in the midst of cancer treatments.

I don't know if these clouds mean rain

If they do, will they pour down blessing or pain?

I don't know what the future holds...

My girlfriend and I stayed up to watch The Family Stone last night. It's the story of holidays and plans and kids and life and a mother celebrating her last Christmas with her family. If your girdle's on tight, it's got enough to offend you. But I don't wear girdles. One pivotal scene has Sarah Jessica Parker and Luke Wilson in bed as the snow slowly falls on the skylight above them. She begins humming the refrain repeat the sounding joy, repeat the sounding joy.

I don't know how or when I'll die

Will it be a thief, or will I have a chance to say goodbye?

No, I don't know how much time is left...

The lyrics in this post are from the song Faithfulness by Brian Doerksen. I got to spend time yesterday with Brian and his wife; it was a gift. He said John, the life of faith is about learning to trust. That's it. Brian prayed for sons that would sit around and discuss philosophy and theology with him. His two sons have Fragile X Syndrome; they don't talk much, if at all, but they hug and kiss their dad alot. Brian wrote the song after one of them was born.

None of my children have Fragile X Syndrome. But my youngest got in bed with us early this morning, head full of fever...

You could read this post and get up all shitfaced on melancholia, maybe even go back to bed and pull the covers over your eyes. Or, you could wade into this day remembering that the best-laid plans of mice and men and mothers and friends and fathers-in-law and Sarah Jessica and Brian and John gang aft agley. We don't have the foggiest idea what this day will hold; we are, all of us, fragile. But if we are people of faith, real faith, then we get up and brush our teeth and feed the dog and commute to work and face the day. And we trust. That's it.

Surer than a mother's tender love

Surer than the stars still shine above

I can rest in your faithfulness.

Repeat the sounding joy...repeat the sounding joy...


  1. I'll take choice #2, please.

    Lord, we drink from the cup You give us today...with thanksgiving and trust. Amen.

  2. P.S. and BTW...Brian Doerksen? Jealous! Oh, but repenting.

  3. But i have no work to commute to, so I did not brush my teeth and I have just written a poem about being in the basement with my fears. "real faith" well, it may have to wait for another day.

  4. Mark,
    Some days, days when there isn't a job and the teeth can wait, real faith is writing a poem about being in the basement with your fears.

    I believe that. And I believe in you, my good friend.

  5. "I believe, help thou my unbelief." I am grateful for your belief in me and in the wider vision of faith that includes our worst fears and doubts.

  6. I have walked many a soggy ground with the sky still heavy with clouds...the sun always appears, the soil hardens once again.

    Lighting a candle amidst the darkenss for you Mark. The heaviest darkness is just before dawn. Glorious light will stream in and dance around you once again creating beautiful prisms of possiblity. Selah.

  7. Thank you Shanda, all light is welcome!

  8. Gotta be the Timex and keep on ticking. Speaking of which, waaaay past bedtime.

  9. John,
    A mutual friend linked me to your blog. Great stuff; thanks. Besides having faith while brushing our teeth (or not, Mark) and going to work (or not, Mark) let's also LISTEN to Father on that deep personal level that makes Him real for us as we brush our teeth and go to work and come home and....


    Dr Jon

  10. I had never heard of the song by Brian Doerkson until you mentioned it, John. Found it on youtube and will savor both the music and the words. I'm taking a class in congregational song this semester and our focus is on lyrics...

    Good stuff