Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Joy.


"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)

8 comments:

  1. Kerry, I totally feel sad with you and I have been brought to tears over your last blog. You are an amazing MOM!!! and I am once again blown away by you. Our God is so faithful and just like you, that is who I must continue to trust even through the sad times when I myself just don't understand..the "Whys?" of this life.
    Thank you for being an encouragement to me and know that your family is very close to our hearts..XOXO

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  2. Oh, Kerry...
    ....it is amazing how parallel our lives are sometimes. Even with very diff't stories, they aren't so diff't at all.

    We need to get together SOON!

    Kim T

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  3. Kerry, I love you so much, my friend. And I am sad with you. My heart goes out to you and they struggles that you are facing. Remember - this is not our home! We will all one day live in perfection for all eternity! Wow!
    Thank you for sharing with us on your blog. You have an amazing gift for expressing yourself and giving us a glimpse into your amazing, grace-filled, sometimes difficult life. And I thank you. Please know that even though we are on the other side of the country, you can still call me whenever you need a listening ear :) Let me know if you need my cell #. I love you!
    Dorothy

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  4. Kerri,

    Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us and reminding us of God's truth, even when it comes through tears. May the Lord continue to restore your joy and bring contentment to your soul, despite your sadness.

    I'll never forget one year at high school camp when Daryl preached that joy is simply the absence of fear. It's not the absence of trials or hard times or sadness, but rather the absence of fear, in the midst of those trials, due to the surpassing knowledge of our Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ, and what that means to each of us that know Him personally.

    Praying for you tonight and hoping you continue to find joy in the midst of life.

    Becca Holt

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  5. I have always loved who you are as a person! It is ironic that you see yourself as pessimistic, for I have never seen that in you. I see you as a woman of great faith and transparency! So many think that we have to project a "positive" image for others to accept us as humans. That is so false!

    I love that you are embracing life, the valleys as well as the mountaintops with courage and great dignity. In your raw honesty, for all to see, especially your daughters, will learn humility and grace and unconditional love of our Father. He created us to experience and embrace these emotions and He understands more than anyone else for He experienced them too while He was here... I love Henri myself, for He has captured what lives inside of us through pain and suffering that most people don't want to share. You are a huge blessing to all of us and your journey, personally as well as your family inspires all of us to live in the moment and choose joy!

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  6. Kerri,
    Can I quote you please?
    "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."

    God bless you,
    Tim

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  7. Of course you can quote me, Tim!! I am so honored!:)
    Kerry

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Thanks for taking the time!