Maybe it's because he's seen my mother , his grandmother, so shaky and frail that he got a bit alarmed at what happens as we age. Or maybe my son is going to be a future fitness tyrant enthusiastically barking out orders to flabby flailing people trying to get in shape. Whatever the reason, Alex has decided that I must get in shape; that my bones are weak, my muscles minuscule, and nothing will change about this unless he helps me.
Help me, he does. He texts me throughout the day, "Have you done your exercises? Have you done your push ups?".
I text him back- "Leave me alone. I'm reading". And I smile, shake my head, get up, and then drop- and do 10 push ups.
Ah, the joys of doing what you should do- because someone is making you do it.
I'm glad, though, that he's gotten me into this daily habit. I feel stronger. I'm flexing my little arm muscles a lot and gleaming with joy over my accomplishment. I am woman. I am strong. I am under house arrest if I don't do my exercises.
At least I can accomplsih this. Even if I can't navigate the career path, the Path to Your Success- at least I can become less flabby and more firm, resolute, fixed on being a muscular mom and not a marshmallow of a thing that ages more rapidly than I should.
I'm exercising. I'm working out. And it only happened because someone made me do it. Someone harassed and hounded me to do it- and it was for my sake that my son did all that prodding. It's for my good. The more I work out, and see the results, the more I'm glad I'm doing it.
I think that this happens a lot, in our lives. Sometimes we start doing something we never intended to do. We wound up doing it because someone intervened, the circumstances became such that we had to, or we were given a loving push off the cliff and found out we could...fly. Or rejoice, if we had to. That's what the prophet Habakkuk tells us.
3: 17,18 Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls—
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
Because of the devastation due to the Babylonian invasion, this was a bleak time for the believers. I think of the devastating economy and unemployment figures and notices of plants closing and I think, yes, it seems like an invasion. Bad news poured in and pillaged our land. Nothing is blossoming and blooming- like it used to.
And then we read the prophet saying, "YET...". Yet will I rejoice. And more than that, he says, "I will joy in the God of my salvation." Literally, it translates out to something like "I will dance for joy in the God of my salvation."
I've seen people holding signs, "Will work for food" when I've visited spots in the inner city, and even when I was living in Spain, years ago. The things we will do- when we're hungry. When we're out of luck, out of hope.
But in this passage, it's like the prophet is saying, "Things are bad. They're so bad and so bleak, that I'm out of hope. YET, I'm that desperate for a morsel of goodness, a mouthful of sweet sustenance, that I'll do anything. I could say, 'Will work for food'- but there's none to be had. So instead, I'll declare, 'Will dance for joy'- cause I may just need joy more than anything else."
I consider doing this. I think of how I've been working out... for the sake of getting muscles. And then I think, no, that's not right. I've been working out for love's sake. My son cares about me. He worries about me getting old and frail and falling. He wants me to be strong. So he prods me to work for muscles. Work out for strength. So I do. I post a sign as I start exercising: "Aging woman. Will work for muscles. "
Then I put on some loud boisterous music and stretch out some more, take a deep breath and exhale. I look up. Heavenward. I post another sign- that I want God to read. "Tired Christian. Will Dance for Joy."
And then I start dancing with great expectation at what will come next.