Happy Lightening

I came across the phrase “happy lightning” in a book by Arthur Gordon titled A Touch of Wonder. As I recall, the phrase was descriptive of those unplanned for moments in a life when our hearts are stirred. This song is my own reflection on that idea. And it’s a prayer that I might, more and more, encounter the force of “uninvited thunder,” such that my eyes and heart might be open to every fingerprint of God on the average day.

C.S. Lewis wrote much about moments of joy which point us to God, the source of Joy. Even the experiences of pleasure can be ‘tiny theophonies’ through which we recognize something of God’s heart. “One’s mind runs back up the sunbeam to the sun.”

One’s heart can track the lightning back to the Giver of the good storm.

There is a part of me that is uncomfortable talking about happiness as an expectation of life in this world. It can certainly be a dangerously selfish and small god. Increasingly though, as I try to imagine heaven, I do see a place of joy, of friendliness, of pleasure, of learning and amazement. But happiness here? Doesn’t the Bible say that our days here are “few and full of trouble?” It does, and they are. Accepting that, and without suggesting that one ever compromise the call to “be holy” in some quest to be happy, it still seems right and Christian, even obligatory, to receive with thanksgiving whatever cups of sweetness and light that God lets come out way. I appreciate Lewis’ observation:

“If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us , like an ignorant child who ants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

You had any happy lightning lately?

Lyrics

You feel just fine, you feel OK

You’re just drifting through your ‘ordinary’ day

The all at once, it’s like a storm erupts

Something catches your attention and it wakes you up

It might just be a fleeting smile

The laughter of a little child

A kindness unexpected from a stranger

But it hits you like a thunderbolt

It strikes your heart with a sudden jolt

The moment is so sweet it’s almost frightening

Happy lightning

For much too long, for days and days

You’ve been through the motions unamazed

But then a knock that you can’t ignore

It’s like that million dollar prize at your door

Some shade of blue, a movie show

A voice of someone long ago

A cup of joy that comes right out of nowhere

It hits you like a thunderbolt

It wakes you up with a sudden jolt

The moment is so sweet it’s almost frightening

Hello happy lightning

Sometimes it does a world of good to have our worlds upset

To feel the force of uninvited thunder

Sometimes it helps to see the world in ways we haven’t yet

To see it all with open eyes of wonder

It might just be a moonlit sky

A setting sun or a song that makes you cry

Heaven gives your heart a kiss

And you know deep down inside that you were made for this

It might just be a passing smile

The laughter of a little child

A kindness unexpected from a stranger

But it hits you like a thunderbolt

It wakes you up with a sudden jolt,

The moment is so sweet it’s almost frightening

Happy lightning