Wednesday, August 17, 2011
"The reward of choosing joy is joy itself. Living among people with mental disabilities has convinced me of that. There is so much rejection, pain, and woundedness among us, but once you choose to claim the joy hidden in the midst of all suffering, life becomes a celebration. Joy never denies the sadness, but transforms it to a fertile soil for more joy." Henri Nouwen
It's the quote of my summer. Here is my favorite from last summer: "Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be"--Abraham Lincoln. It is similar. Probably could be in the same chapter in a book of quotations. What is this theme that God keeps presenting me with? I guess it is the decision to choose to focus on the joyful parts of life and to trust Him with the really hard parts.
I see God at work in me on this subject. You know, I'm finding that I'm kind of a pessimist, even though I'd really like to deny that! If something goes wrong, or someone says or does something that hurts, it is all I can see. All those beautiful moments are suddenly clouded by the dark ick of the bad. Then it can take me days to swim out of the ick and see beauty again. I really hate that.
So God keeps calling to me...KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE BEAUTIFUL THINGS...KEEP YOUR MIND ON THE LOVELY...FOCUS ON WHAT IS PURE AND RIGHT. When I do, I get to experience what Henri Nouwen is talking about. Life is a celebration. It doesn't mean I'm not sad but that I am experiencing joy that comes only from my close communion with God, the Creator, my Sustainer, my Provider and my Friend.
Today I am just sad. We had a wonderful summer with our family, but a wearing, physically and emotionally exhausting one as well. It was one of the sweetest, as I enjoy our girls and how they are growing and changing, and how our relationships are deepening, and how we are learning to parent differently as they grow up. It was really hard because we ended up in the hospital with Reese in Colorado after a 1.5 hour ambulance ride from Estes Park. The vacation my girls had anticipated for 12 months was interrupted by another ER visit.
We thought we had all of Reese's issues resolved, but she is still not herself. She is not smiling, not laughing, not really interacting with us like she usually does. I realized today that I really miss her. I really need to see her smile. And I am just sad because I really really really want her to feel good and to be happy. I don't need her to be like every other 3 year old. I am so OK with that. But I really need to know that she is happy.
I don't deny the sadness, and I'm not ignoring it. It is real, it is palpable. I'm crying right now. But God showed me something really wonderful today. I dropped Reese off at school with a lump in my throat because now the nurse is asking me about her back brace. "Does she have scoliosis?"
"Yes", I replied with a hard swallow. Add that to the list.
I got in the car feeling flat and just letting myself feel sad. I laid it out to God. I'm just sad, just for so many things that make her day difficult. And I realized for the first time that I'm not mad, I'm not angry, I'm not wondering why. I'm not jealous of other people, I'm not feeling sorry for myself. I'm just sad and it is OK. No one has to fix it and even I don't have to fix it. I can just be sad sometimes because I love her so much. And it is OK.
And in the midst of my sadness I am experiencing the joy that comes from knowing He loves her even more than I do.
"People who have come to know the joy of God do not deny the darkness, but they choose not to live in it. They claim that the light that shines in the darkness can be trusted more than the darkness itself and a little bit of light can dispel a lot of darkness." Henri Nouwen (again)
Posted by Kerry D. at 11:14 AM