Choosing Joy




It was not the logical choice.


My teenage son asked me if I would drive him and two of his basketball teammates 200 miles to meet their classmates from another club on a school trip. They could have taken the school-sponsored bus, but they also wanted to go to basketball practice (their team made the playoffs!) and the bus was scheduled to leave before practice was over.


In a world measured by tradeoffs and time. the logical thing would have been to say no. It didn’t make sense for me to drive seven hours roundtrip so that they could go to extra an hour of basketball practice.


But when my son asked the question, it felt like I had been offered a gift:

Three hours of car time with my teenage son!

An impromptu road trip!

The chance to schedule a coffee date with an old work friend!

In a world measured by joy and connection and love, it was a no-brainer.


Still, I wavered. My logical mind wanted to weigh pros and cons, to have some sort of justification for whatever decision I made. Certainly “Joy” could not be a good enough reason. I told a friend about my dilemma over lunch. She said, “When you talk about driving your son up there, you have the biggest smile on your face. It’s so clear what your heart wants.” I texted my son and said, “It doesn’t make sense for me to drive you…AND the idea of it fills me with so much joy. I’ll do it!”


I easily rescheduled what I had planned for the day and I was practically giddy with anticipation. I dropped Snowball at her friend’s house for the day, did my morning workout, and was just putting the road trip snacks into a bag when my son called from school.


“Did you get my text?” he asked.


I hadn’t.


“We just finished practice and the buses are still here. You don’t need to take us after all.”


So now I sit on the loveseat in my kitchen, looking out at the canyon on a rainy day, warm tea in hand, grinning as I remember a memory from five years ago and think about that impromptu road trip that will forever exist in my imagination.


Five Foot Zero

(from Brainstorms)

Listen to Five Foot Zero


I remember when he was small

and I used to shoot love into his heart.


“Pshew! Pshew! Pshew!”

I smiled and he laughed

while my index finger gently poked his chest.

He was scared, and I told him

that his name meant “brave.”


“What does brave mean, Mama?”


“Brave means being strong when you are scared.”


I put a dream catcher in his window

never knowing the faces of the monsters

that haunted his dreams.


He held a Mickey Mouse light saber

to help him fight his battles of the night

with glowing rainbow light.


And now I see in him the boy he was

and the man he is becoming,

equal parts of each grappling for territory

within his expanding frame.


At five foot zero, he fills the bed

as he stretches from corner to corner.

No longer voicing his fears,

my gentle warrior navigates his world

with dignity and compassion.


I stand in the doorway and watch him sleep.

In my mind, I trace a heart over his chest

and take up my anointed arrow

to send a bolt of love across the room.


It lands right on target.