My wife and I just wrapped up a week's vacation in Colorful Colorado. We spent a week at Estes Park, high in the Rockies and just a short distance from Rocky Mountain National Park, which we visited daily and saw many, many elk wandering the area. There were other animals too---deer, geese, ground squirrels, and marmots, but the elk were in such numbers that they seemed to be the dominant species. We even got to see the elk "Spring Frolic" one evening near dark. We had driven out to the national park and saw a small herd of elk near a watering hole so we stopped the car, rolled down the windows, and observed them from there. Soon, a large buck with a huge rack of horns began running about the watering hole, stopping now and then to put his head in the water and bring up a stream of water above him. He pawed the ground and stomped his feet, and chased two does who were also nearby. The three of them ran here and there and chased each other and it was as if they were celebrating the spring season and all that it provided for them. After about 15 minutes of this, they stopped and began just munching grass as they had before they began their dance. We thought at first that they were doing some mating ritual but when we looked it up on the internet when we returned to our cabin, we found out that mating happens in the autumn and what we saw was actually their spring frolic. We felt very blessed to have witnessed this act of nature and tried to see it again but never did find elk doing the same thing while we were there.
How many times have you wanted to frolic when something made you excited and happy? How many times has your spirit told you to do the "dance of joy" but you only thought about it instead of doing it? Many of us are limited physically so we cannot actually dance or frolic using our bodies but we can let our imagination and our spirits take us to a place of celebration in our minds. Celebration is something we all crave. We want to have reasons to celebrate and those reasons come about through life events that most of us have---birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, holidays--all give us reason to rejoice and celebrate. There are times when life needs to be celebrated, however, just because life exists. There are days when the weather is just right, the sun is shining in the right amount, the sky is a beautiful blue, and all seems right with the world. Perhaps that is a day to celebrate life.
I have many reasons to celebrate in my life. Besides having special days that the calendar provides, I have a wonderful family with children who live in beautiful parts of the USA that provide reasons to visit there. I have a fabulous supportive congregation to serve and lead that gives me a reason to get up and go every day. I have time to renew and relax and unwind on a regular basis so that my emotional battery can be recharged. I have a place to live that provides an environment that encourages reflection and self care. As the writer of Lamentations said, "The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." (3:22-23)
We used to sing the old song, "Count Your Blessings" now and then in church services. The old hymn talks about the idea that when life provides challenges to your body or mind, then try to think about the positive things in life instead of dwelling on the negatives. There will always be challenges to us as long as we are alive but we can try to think about the positive aspects of life, the opportunities for joy, the relationships that we have and we will know that life contains far more blessings that challenges. That knowledge can help us to overcome those challenges and realize that we have many others to assist us on our life's journey.
Do the dance of joy when you can. Celebrate spring with a frolic of your own. Dance a jig in your mind if you cannot do it with your body. Rejoice in your spirit and have confidence that God is still with us. God is still speaking if we will open our minds and hearts to listen.