Little wins and a lot of rejoicing

Love ultimately has won, and we have a reason to sing.

It was a slippery patch of white, that driveway, and soon I found my all-season tires stuck in snow. I was late already for the girls’ tap lessons, all three of them strapped into the backseat, and now this.

Now I would need to admit to my in-laws that I couldn’t back up straight out of a driveway. Now we would be late. The muttering began as I climbed from the van into the white drift.

And then, the singing. It emerged from the backseat like a flash of colour, like birds’ wings, even as my in-laws came and hooked up the van to their truck.

It continued even as I had to force the girls to unbuckle and exit the vehicle. They chased chickens.

And it continued on the way to tap. Just what were these blond seven-year-old girls singing?
“Rejoice in the Lord, always, and again I say, REJOICE!” (They bellowed out the “Rejoice!” at the end. As if I wasn’t getting the point.)

In training

And because of their song, instead of focusing on the loss of time or the injury to pride, I chose instead to focus on the little wins: the worship, from the girls; the forgiveness and grace of my in-laws, who just happened to be home when I needed them; the fact that we ended up only five minutes late, and the fact that I had a van in the first place.

It’s a lesson I’d thought of, days earlier, in fact, while playing ping-pong in our basement. My husband plays me left-handed. He’s right-handed. He still beats me. But instead of focusing on the ultimate loss of each game, I decided to celebrate the little victories – each time I won a set, I would rejoice. After all, those little victories matter. They are like steps to a higher altar, an altar of praise.

Brother Lawrence was a monk who practiced the presence of God while he washed the dishes. He wrote a book on it. Washing dishes is something we can all relate to. It’s like doing the laundry, or taking out the garbage, or any of those chores that seem endless and mind-numbing.

But Brother Lawrence says that God trains us in those long stretches of ho-hum and dreary. God trains us to sing. He wants to see if we’ll worship while we wash. It’s like the Israelites in the desert. God always planned to give them water, and manna and quail. But he waited, to see what they would do in their hunger, in the wilderness.

“We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God,” writes Brother Lawrence, “who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.”

So friends, let’s celebrate the little victories. Let’s rejoice from the backseat of this life. Dare to chase chickens. And rejoice some more. Because love ultimately has won, and we have reason to sing. Hallelujah!


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