Surprised By Joy: One Family’s Journey of Generosity

by Steven Huprich, Junior Warden

Growing up, my parents were very reluctant to speak about money, particularly to anyone outside the family who might be asking them to consider how to spend or commit their finances. They seemed especially concerned that someone might try to take advantage of knowing anything about how much money they did (or did not) have. They wanted to protect what was so hard-earned, so precious, and so necessary for their family’s vitality. I understood their point, and to some extent, I adopted the caution they taught. This reflects, I believe, the frugality with which they were raised, having grown up during World War II.

Like most of us, I have bought houses, cars, computers, and other large items. I still worry just a bit, with the residue of my upbringing remaining encrusted in my mind, wondering what is happening with the funds I have just committed. Over time, though, I have overcome the tendency to engage my finances with anxiety.

I was reminded of this a few years ago at the Ann Arbor Art Fair, when my wife and I purchased some pieces by Aaron Reed, an African-American artist from Athens, Georgia. We were really moved by Aaron’s work, including one in which a couple is lounging together on a sofa, each with a glass of wine in hand. The piece is called, “Relax and Unwine”. What was so fun to learn was that the title of the piece was not originally intended that way….it was to be “Relax and Unwind”, but the painting moved the artist toward a more playful title than he could have imagined. We smile every time we go by it.

Our years at Christ Church Cranbrook have brought us many smiles and even, as C. S. Lewis writes, moments of being “surprised by joy” where our experience went beyond what we could imagine.

We have found God time and time again in this place and in its people.
We have experienced God beyond words through the music, and our family has been blessed spiritually,

from experiences as diverse as serving people part of the annual Temporary Shelter to entering the Mardi Gras lip sync battle. As such, when our capital campaign was announced, it was not a difficult decision to set aside those latent financial fears and to give back to God who has so generously given Himself to us.

As we enter the final days of this campaign, how might you be surprised by joy in this process?