October 20, 2010

Slogging through with joy

Have you ever launched a website? Whew! This was my first….

All told, it’s taken over a year of effort. I worked on everything from the initial concept to launch, adding more people to the team as we went. Some days brought big decisions as we struggled to balance the needs of different stakeholders. There were lots of planning meetings. Countless hours consumed in tedious details of database and content management. Some weeks required big learning curves in new technology, ideas, or skills. So many pieces, big and small, had to come together to make it all work.

Not everyone has launched a website. But most of us have something we’re slogging through – a demanding project, a challenging volunteer ministry, school papers, or a family ordeal. It can even be a daily slog to commute to work or seek a job, all the while trying to find time for family, friends, food, and faith.

And it’s easy for most of us to name the struggles, responsibilities, and pressures we’re under. (Just ask our spouses or best friends who listen to us recount our woes!)

Earlier this year I met a priest in the Diocese of Spokane, Jeff, who said he was “slogging through with joy.” I loved the expression the moment I heard it. Doesn’t it just sum up a lot of life and ministry?

So what about the joy? What is it that keeps us sane and spirited?

For me it’s the joy of working toward a purpose larger than myself. The joy of following God and serving others, trusting that our efforts may bear fruit. The joy of working on a team with other people. And ultimately, it’s the joy of the Holy Spirit.

On more than one occasion in the last months, my colleague Miguel and I turned to each other at the end of a long meeting, smiled, and realized the Spirit was in our midst. Usually it was one of the moments when we had to let go: decisions were out of our control or answers were yet unknown. But we trusted that we were on the right path, and that God was with us.

Those moments were just enough to keep us slogging away another day.