Monday, August 1, 2011

Surprising Joy


Me with Vicki, one of my biggest joys.

It took me completely by surprise. I was standing at the mirror trying to get ready for the day. By some small miracle half the children were still asleep so there weren’t too many interruptions. I began brushing my hair. It wasn’t cooperating, but that is nothing unusual. I have very temperamental hair. Then I saw it. A small string on the top of my head, mixed in with strands of hair. I kept trying to grab it, but it wouldn’t come. It was like it has little hands that were holding on to something. Then it hit me. That is no string. That is a gray hair. Aaahhh! Now I know I am no spring chicken, but I really wasn’t expecting a gray hair. It was horrifying. Almost as bad as the day I came home to people trying to break into my house…almost. It was more like coming home and finding my house has a crack in it. Bad analogy. That might get me thinking about wrinkles. So what does all this have to do with what I’ve been learning? Trust me there is a point. I’m not a total narcissist.

Lately, as I get ready in the mornings, I’ve kept my computer by me and will listen to a general conference talk. I’ve decided to listen to previous talks from before I was a member. I came across a talk by President Monson entitled Joy in the Journey. I usually prefer talks that teach me theology or challenge me to be better, so my initial reaction was to skip it, but I made a commitment to listen to all of them in order backwards. I’m glad I listened to it. I realized some things about myself during that talk. Without being conscience of it, I have been just surviving without taking time out to enjoy life. Admittedly, my life is challenging. It is constant work, without any discretionary money to do something I love. There is no adult companionship..not even at work as I work alone from home most of the time. Often what I feel is exhausted, discouraged, and frightened.

After the initial shock of becoming single and finding employment that still enabled me to be a mom, I somehow must have thought in the back of my mind that I will only have to do this for a short time. Surely, after all I’ve been through, the Lord will send me some godly man who will adore both me and the children and I’ll live happily ever after serving God, my husband, and my children. Yes, I’d still write, but no more working until 2:30 in the morning. No more complete exhaustion. No more loneliness. I don’t think it ever occurred to me that there wouldn’t be any men out there ready for that kind of responsibility in my age bracket. I’ve had a couple of tempting date offers from two young men who didn’t realize my age, but I had the foresight to tell them no and not let the temptation get too appealing.  I will admit to being a little tempted with one of them.  I mean what harm could one date do with a strapping, handsome young man who thinks I’m funny? But, alas, wisdom prevailed.

It hit me during President Monson’s talk…..What if this wasn’t a season of waiting? What if this is my life? I’m not saying I’ll never marry, because my patriarchal blessing promises that I will. However, it did not promise when, and it gave some qualifications on the male that I don’t see available in my area. Maybe it will be 20 years before that happens. I had to ask myself, will I find joy in my journey if that were the case? Can there be joy with countless hours of work, little financial gain, complete exhaustion, unbelievable stress, and complete loneliness? The answer is yes.

First, I am surrounded by four blessings with beautiful spirits every day. I receive many moments of joy when one of my children says something that makes me laugh, or makes me proud. I receive moments of joy when one of them asks to be cuddled. I’m a cuddler, so I enjoy that. I take great pleasure and joy in my God. I love learning about Him and conversing with Him. He knows me. I mean really knows me. Even with that knowledge he still reminds me in priesthood blessings that He loves and is proud of me. That always amazes me. All I see is someone who needs to grow….a lot. I take great pleasure in studying my Scriptures. And I love to write.  All of these things bring me joy in my journey.  Then sometimes, God gives me special blessings. Maybe someone treats me to a night out, or gives me tickets to the symphony (hallelujah!) that they don’t need. Sometimes it is something as simple as my dear friend Marc coming over, watching a movie with me and talking for hours. Actually we rarely get through a whole movie because we keep pausing it to discuss stuff. I love intelligent conversation.

What I realized was that I needed to stop looking to the future for my joy and see the joy I already had. Life may not get easier any time soon, but I will at least see the blessings that I do have and praise my God for them.


Erica said...

You have one of my favorite blogs to follow. I don't know how you manage to have the strength you do, but I'm very grateful you share your journey.

Mama Rachel said...

I really needed to read your words this morning. Thanks so much for sharing your insights! :-)