I thought twice about posting this journal entry because of it's personal nature. But "blogs" are really just personal thoughts in print anyway. So if you don't like what you read, the delete key is just a click away. Also, the topic of joy has become such a buzzword for near-do-well's that it's easy to dismiss. But for me, it's no mere cliche. It's a daily journey and I trust that one day when I need it most, it will be there for me. For those of you I met at Ronald McDonald House and Children's Hospital, I hope you're home to stay for awhile! I haven't written on the Caregiver's page recently, but this post appears there as well.
The gloom of the world is but a shadow;
behind it, yet within our reach,
~ Fra Giovanni
I've always liked this quote. I think of it sometimes when people refer to me as an unrealistic "Pollyanna." Better an optimist than a pessimist, don't you think? Why not pick from the abundance of beautiful moments in life, instead of the daily doldrums? Choosing joy can be like a visit with an old friend who sees the world's inherent good in spite of so much bad. So like it or not, "Pollyanna" is what I prefer.
Webster defines joy as "the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune. Or by the prospect of possessing what one desires." It also lists "delight" as a synonym. But isn't delight something that happens because of an external event, while joy is more of an inside job?
I've heard it said that the understanding of grief and joy is a sacred dance. During these precious days with my son they are sister emotions, intertwined at seperate ends of a spectrum. Can we really experience one with out having known the other? I think it was Robert Schuller that said, "Joy is not the absence of suffering. It's the presence of God." If you believe this as I do, then joy can't be found in the material possessions we collect. Nor is it subject to circumstance. Joy doesn't suddenly appear when things go our way. And it surely doesn't disappear when things don't.
Each day I do something many people don't think about in a tangible, imminent way. I get up every morning and reafirm that death is only a transformation from this physical world to a perfect spiritual life. Like other parents who've walked this road, it's incomprehensible to imagine a world without my child's presence in it. Yet what Dusty's been through in his short life is also incomprehensible. It's a great comfort to me that one day he will "mount up with wings as eagles." He'll "run and not be weary." It's why I seek out joy and don't let fear or sadness settle in for very long. I can't say that I succeed every time. But when I do look for joy, I find it everywhere.
When the reality of this present sorrow threatens to overwhelm me, I revisit an old but striking memory. I close my eyes and watch a couple of Golden Eagles take off over some cliffs near a place I once lived in Idaho. You see, eagles sense when a storm is approaching. And when they do, these amazing birds instinctively seek out a high point and wait for the winds to pick up. Once the storm hits, eagles set their wings into the wind so they can catch the draft. While the storm rages below, eagles are able to soar above it. In my darker moments, the thought of this inspiring sight helps me "rise above the storm."
I choose joy because...
Joy is uplifting
For every sad or difficult experience,
many more are happy and easy to bear.
Joy helps me see purpose
for the present moment and in the future.
I choose joy because...
Joy teaches me how to overcome fear of the inevitable
and enjoy the wonder of life today.
It gives me hope to continue in the here and now
and encourages my faith in the hereafter
And I choose joy because...
Joy helps me climb the mountain
and walk the valley
of this long goodbye.
"...think about all the beauty still left around you
and be happy."
~ Anne Frank
I Corinthians 15:45 and 49