It is supremely easy to get dragged down into a rut of sorrow, complaints, self-pity, regrets, depression and even anger. In fact, it becomes so familiar it’s almost like an old friend. It’s easier to stay there than to try to dig your way out.
I have begun to notice something on this journey, as I write my way through healing. If I find nothing to be thankful for, nothing positive to cling to, if I do not see God and his brilliance in anything, then what in the world is there to look forward to?
I hear of a woman whose spouse has been stricken inexplicably with an undefinable illness and has not been awake for days. Another learns to help her husband re-learn everything after a debilitating stroke, all while holding her family together and being the sole income provider. A co-worker’s father has been diagnosed with cancer. My uncle becomes my aunt’s caregiver as she fights a losing battle with Alzheimer’s. I see parents with out of control children and families broken apart by addictions.
Every single person in this world struggles in some way or another on a daily basis. Sorrow, complaint, self-pity, depression, regrets, anger…we all have the right to feel that way. Some days it is just easier to get up and move on with life than others. Who am I to think my troubles are more worthy of pain and suffering than any of the above mentioned individuals?
I am a human being. That’s who I am. I have every right to be sad and depressed, to feel beaten down and worthless, to feel hopeless and afraid. But I also have the equal right, and privilege to find joy in life. Even if that joy lasts for just a moment, I am learning to cling to it.
I want to wrap a joyful moment around my hands like gloves so the pain of my suffering does not burn me anymore. I want to wrap it like a scarf around my head to keep the knowledge of better times in my brain. I want to pull it on like hip waders so when I am knee deep in life’s garbage and refuse, I won’t get stained and dragged under by the weight of its pull.
And finally, I want to carry joy like an umbrella, so when the rains of sorrow and confusion and desperation come down, I will have some protection from the biting cold of the raindrops.
It’s easy to say, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy!” — a phrase which often sounds hollow and empty. Worrying is as second nature to me as breathing (which is a problem, I know), and being happy is sometimes as elusive as trying to catch a butterfly.
So I am going to try (and will fail miserably on many occasions) to find one joyful moment in each day. Just one. My hope is that in each moment of joy, I will find an equal moment of God’s presence–something I sorely long for many days.
Who knows? I might end up with less worry and more happy.