Mourning and dancing and tons of comfort blue sky simmered overhead and a gentle breeze twisted the golden leaves in a graceful dance. Sarah and I revved our motorcycles and headed carefully up dirt road towards Bear Creek.

It was a first. The first time I’d taken the motorcycles out without Pedro. The first time Sarah had ridden on a road. The first time I’d had a ‘date’ with her since Pedro’s hospitalization back in July.

So many things had happened, and I knew I needed to reconnect with each of our girls—in fact, Pedro had begged me to take them motorcycle riding. A sort of ‘riding with Daddy by proxy’ event, because he didn’t know when he would be able to ride with them again—and it was one of the ways they bonded with him.

Despite my insecurities about all things mechanical, I decided to branch out and honor his request. I had managed to get both motorcycles started and now we put-putted blissfully up the country road.

When we reached the primitive trail at the top of the canyon, we parked and decided to hike a little further before unpacking our lunch and having a picnic.

I chuckled to myself—if I were really Pedro, we wouldn’t have parked the motorcycles—we would have zoomed on up the road in search of further adventure.

After a short hike (not easy to accomplish in dirt-biking boots and hauling our helmets along) we found the perfect picnic rock and I listened while Sarah chattered about all that had happened since I’d been gone. I don’t remember the details of our conversation—only the joy it brought me.

We leaned back on the warm surface of the giant rock and drank in the beauty of a perfect day. My heart joined the limbs and the leaves as they danced overhead. Pedro seemed to have turned the corner. In a few days, he would be out of the hospital until the next scheduled chemo.

Soon, maybe ever before Thanksgiving, he would be eligible for a stem-cell transplant and we’d be able to put this horrible ordeal behind us.

It seemed as if nothing could steal the happiness burbling up inside me. Not even the crabby lady who slammed on her brakes as we rode our motorcycles down the hill, got out of her car and flagged me down. Not even her unkind words about my parenting (How could you let your child ride a motorcycle on this road?! Um, lady, we live in Montana. This is a dirt road.). Not even her threats (I should just call the police and report this! Um, lady, we go faster down this hill when we’re on bicycles. Since we’re on motorcycles, we’re going a lot slower.). I just uh-hummed and nodded and probably grinned like a person who really did qualify as an unfit parent.

The beauty of the day, the goodness of my Savior, and the majesty of His love kept the unkind, thoughtless words flowing around me like water flows around a rock in a stream.

She finally ceased her tirade and reentered her car in a huff. She must be having a really bad day, I thought. Poor lady. She doesn’t know my joy comes from above. Ain’t no way nobody’s gonna steal that! (tweet this)

We headed carefully down the hill again, stopping once or twice along the way to watch the leaves twirl through the air and dance across the road.

Dear Caregiver, don’t let anyone step on your joy. Our Father gives us moments of joy to alleviate the great sorrow that threatens to overwhelm us. (tweet this)

Comfort and joy come together—don’t let anyone steal the joy that comes along with the comfort!