Racing For Joy 2 lo res

Racing For Joy (2); 2018; 21.5″ x 28″; mixed media: pastel, watercolor, acrylic, ink on paper.

When I brought him home five years ago, I was broken too.

His leg had betrayed him, shattering mid-stride when the thrill of the race outpaced his physical capability. His passion had disintegrated into pieces. I, too, scrambled to collect the shards of a dream. Hope for someone I dearly love had collided with her mental illness, and I was fighting not to fall into my own despair.

And so, the two of us eyed one another across the room. I chose him sight unseen, by description – because he is black. I named him before I met him – “Siku”, Swahili for “day”, calling into being that which is not. He represented my last-ditch claim to hope, proclaiming to the murky midnight, “joy will come in the morning.” And he wanted nothing to do with me.  If I dared come near, he growled. His orange eyes flared angrily.

With time and persistence, we became inseparable. As the trajectory of my loved one’s mental illness slipped further , I would sit alone as each day dawned, lamenting and pleading for hope. And soon he would come, creeping into the room and snuggling close. He embodied the impossible – as I stroked his silky head, I shouted at the darkness, “Joy will come in the morning!”

Five years later, he sprints through fields, no trace of a broken leg, and then circles back to me. His fiery orange eyes shine. He matches my pace, and my hand rests on his head as we walk side-by-side. I look back and see clearly how God carried me through one of the dimmest passages of my life, stroking that same head, morning by morning.

Both Siku and I are irrevocably broken. But both of us, in time, are shattering into joy beyond our capacity to imagine when our old ways of being in the world were cracking mid-stride.

My faithful friend – when he races for joy, my spirit soars with him.

15 thoughts on “Shattering Into Joy

  1. Needed this today, my friend. Feeling the night press in for various reasons and struggling to keep perspective. Trying to hold on for the morning and not talk myself out of acknowledging the darkness I feel. Anyways, love you and all you do through your blog. Xoxo Amy


    • Ahhh… that is the balance, living into the darkness and not pretending it isn’t there. But never losing hope and faith that the light will come. Praying you feel the Light of Jesus holding you even if you can’t see it.


  2. This story touched my heart and soul deeply. Your bonding with the beautiful dog and how the two of you became inseparable during such a sad time in your life. I can totally relate as I have rescued dogs that were broken in some way, and they have helped me more than anything in conquering the PTSD from which I have long suffered. And in the end result, I gave them something to live for too. Animals have a very special spirit and can be one of the best things in our lives. You are an amazing person for certain.


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