Sadly, Happily, Joyfully

Billy became adverbial this week.

An adverb being that ‘ly’ word that describes what is being done. It adds to the verb. Grammatical terms slip easily into conversation when you’ve taught them in numerous classrooms over the years.

Billy’s adverbials have spun between two extremes. Things in our house have either been done ‘sadly’ or ‘happily’. We were glad for the upturn of ‘happily’ entering his vocabulary, as the start of the week was flattened a little by this expressive three year old starting many sentences with ‘sadly Mummy…’

As UK lockdown begins, no doubt the nation is more on the flattened end of things. ‘Sadly locked down’ seems about right. Doing anything ‘happily’ might be challenging as the days and weeks of home schooling, restricted outings and isolation spins out into 2021’s calendar and it’s hard to tell what the next season of this pandemic life will look like.

I’m grateful for the freedoms we have in the states, while knowing that they may be short-lived as I watch other nations hunker down until the vaccine is rolled out. Amidst the ups and downs of these Covid times, my happiness levels can ricochet off whatever circumstantial happening is going on around me. If my children are having a good day, I might ‘happily’ recount it to my husband later that night. But that might not be the case the next day, or even that afternoon. If I manage to see someone in person, it feels like I’ve had a happiness shot as I ‘happily’ go about the rest of my day.

The Bible talks more of joy than happiness. It’s a gear shift that moves me away from my skittering happiness levels and drops down into a deep-seated, lasting landscape. A landscape that is moulded through unchanging realities and truths. It’s anchored through my identity being determined by Jesus rather than circumstances. It’s unmoving because I stand on the unfailing promises of God. It’s long-lasting because I look at the cross, and know that life – now and later – is secured through Jesus’ blood rather than how well life seems to be going.

While I may swing, with Billy’s adverbial use, from happy to sad, I’m grateful that I can joyfully do life – not faking a smile or holding back the tears – but knowing that I can rejoice in eternal, life-changing realities through Jesus.

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