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Don't Forget the Belly Laughs

You may think that deep, hearty belly laughs and hoisting oneself onto a rock don't mix...and you're right!

This picture was taken on the February youth service trip to Tuba City, Arizona, as I attempted to climb atop this white-striped rock; a feat the youth appeared to accomplish effortlessly. I'm proud to say that I did accomplish the task, though not right after this picture was snapped. No, the aftermath of this picture involved sliding back down the rock until my toes tapped the red sand beneath, and buckling over in laughter, joining the cacophonous chortling of my companions.

Though I did manage to scurry up this rock, it is this captured moment of exploration and uncertainty that is etched into my mind. A moment of ecstatic joy that I found when attempting something outside of the ordinary, something that pushed me into the mindset of possibility: "Is there any rock I can't climb?!"

I have returned to this moment often as I reflect on this extraordinary year with FCB, and the expansive joy that each of you have gifted me. This week, as I walked along the paths of Lone Tree Hill, admiring the green underbrush expanding gleefully beneath the trees, I listened to a recent episode of NPR’s On Point about neurotheology. Near the beginning of the episode they quote French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” 

We are spiritual beings having a human experience. This resonates deeply within me as I contemplate the wonders of joy and its seemingly transcendent quality. Whether it is felt with other people or when in solitude with the world, joy offers a sense of being held and being able to hold that which surrounds us. Audre Lorde writes, “The sharing of joy, whether physical, emotional, psychic, or intellectual, forms a bridge between the sharers which can be the basis for understanding much of what is not shared between them.” 

This connecting quality of joy makes me want to run after it, trying to chase the next moment. Yet, if I can be reminded of one of those moments, that sense of connection returns. I remember that one Sunday morning when our closing hymn consisted of bewildered looks and uncertain head bopping that gradually transformed into laughter and merriment. I remember the Junior choir singing “Joy! Joy! Joy!” at the top of their lungs and smiles that filled the sanctuary. And of course, I remember hysterically laughing while failing to climb a rock. 

May you, too, be reminded of joy, always. 

May this community hold joy, and feel held in joy. 

And may you be stricken with deep, hearty belly laughs as you face new terrain, together. 

With Love,


Your Intern Minister


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