“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds…” (James 1:2 NIV)
When I was a teenager I attended a six week summer learning program at a college. called Upward Bound and it helped disadvantaged kids get a taste of what college is like. We stayed in the dorms. In the morning we had college classes and the evenings were filled with fun activities. We did have a break in the afternoons, however. On one of these afternoons my friend, Claude and I found an old basketball and headed to an outdoor, hardtop, basketball court for a game of one on one.
I was gangly weighing only 140 pounds at the time but Claude was taller and even skinnier than me. He had the advantage in the game then and I fell behind fast. I was determined, though, so I drove hard to the basket but missed a lay up. The ball bounced off the rim and I jumped up to rebound it. Just as I was about to grab it I saw an elbow above my face. As Claude grabbed the ball his elbow came down hard, right into my eye. The skin below it was split, the bone was bruised, and it hurt like you wouldn’t believe. Claude kept apologizing over and over while I found myself laughing through the pain. I spent the next few days walking around with a scar and a black eye, but it was worth it. For years afterwards I got a laugh whenever I told the story and gently teased Claude about his switch blade sharp, elbows of death.
In this life we all get an elbow to the eye from time to time. Our plans go awry. Things work against us. Our ups become downs and the twists and turns of life take us where they may. It is best when this happens to handle it with laughter, love, acceptance, and forgiveness. In this way you can turn your pain to joy, you can learn and grow, and you can make God smile. God has the most wonderful sense of humor. After all, He made US! Fill your days with laughter and love then. And keep a smile on your face even when there’s an elbow in your eye.
Joseph J. Mazzella