Choosing Joy

One of my favourite songs, which we sing at both Sanctuary and The Dale, is called “Choosing Joy.” It starts like this:

This journey down here

has pain and fear

Lord you understand

see the wounds in your hand


Choosing joy, to you I run

Choosing joy for what’s to come

Choosing joy, this I do

Just because I love you.

Part of the reason that I love this song so much is that I have witnessed those lyrics in action. I’ve seen my friend Johnny produce any number of hilarious, witty cardboard signs, to make people laugh while he requests spare change. I’ve heard Marlene pray with deep and sincere joy and gratitude for the many “little blessings” that she receives from God, like the time that a dog came and sat beside her in the park. I’ve heard Peter give thanks for the indescribable joy he experiences knowing that he is a child of God.

These examples do not represent acts of denial — there’s no question in anyone’s mind that each of these friends have more than their share of struggle. To choose joy like this is not trite or flippant; it is a grateful acknowledgement that we are not alone in our struggle, and that the One who knows our pain will one day make all things right. While I can’t speak for these friends, it seems to me that when they choose joy, it is a radical act of faith.

Joy is also a choice that we can make as a community. Every February, The Dale has a big Feast and Open Mic. We have a turkey dinner with all the trimmings and lots of dessert, and then open up the floor to anyone who would like to share a song, a poem, or a dance. This tradition started many years ago, as a conscious decision to have FUN in the midst of a tough month. This past Saturday was this year’s February Feast, and it was absolutely FULL of joy. Words can hardly describe it, but here’s what Erinn wrote about it 🙂

I invite you, along with us at The Dale, to choose joy in the midst of whatever you’re facing these days.

By joannacatherinemoon

I am the Lead Community Worker at The Dale Ministries in Parkdale, Toronto, ON. The Dale seeks to create safe welcoming spaces in which all people, particularly those on the margins, are encouraged to participate fully, to the best of their abilities and journey together toward a deeper experience of the life God has given us. This blog is meant to help keep my supporters connected with life at The Dale.

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