As some of you know, I’m participating the in the #100happydays challenge. For me, it’s finding the joy while I grieve. Yes, I still grieve. It will be three months tomorrow since Penelope was born. Three months!! Each month passing quicker than the previous one. That in itself makes me cry, knowing it’s been that long since I last held her. However, this post is not about how much time has passed and wondering what Penelope’s emerging personality would be like…I think about that all the time anyway. This post is about finding the joys of each day, even on the days I’m filled with sadness. Granted, I’m only on Day 6 and I have another 94 days to go, but God moves in many ways. Whether it’s the peace after a much needed cry, laughing at Lucy for just being Lucy, or being silly with Camden. There are little joys all around.
I’m choosing to find the joy over the happiness in a day because they are different. “Joy and happiness are wonderful feelings to experience, but are very different. Joy is more consistent and is cultivated internally. It comes when you makes peace with who you are, why you are and how you are, whereas happiness tends to be externally triggered and is based on other people, things, places, thoughts and events.” (https://www.psychologies.co.uk/joy-vs-happiness) I know eating a pint of ice cream or getting my hair done may not be viewed as “joy” by the given definition above, but I look at them from the perspective of being intentionally joyful in the long run.
Not every day is necessarily happy and that’s when I find I need to make the changes internally. To seek out the good of a day when I might otherwise want to sit and lament. I seek God even more in those moments. Help me! A cry for peace, for comfort or stillness. Those alone bring a joy inside, knowing God is near. “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18) That verse is something I know to be true. I’ve had my moments that I’ve hit rock bottom in life, or so I thought it was rock bottom, but that is when I have felt God the most. At my lowest, when I struggle to put words together, He hears my heart’s cry.
Lately, I’ve been distracted by planning a vacation for Camden and I. It’s our time to get away, one that we’ve longed for since Penelope was born. I smile more as our departure day approaches. It’s like a breath of fresh air, a heavy weight lifted off our shoulders, and even if temporarily; relief. A break from the sadness in our home and a break from the craziness of life. There’s a verse in Psalms that when I feel sad or dare I say depressed, makes me long for something different. “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.” (Psalm 55:6) I’m sure many of you have had that thought whether or not you read the Bible. A moment in time when the sadness is overwhelming and you just need to leave. Time to restore yourself: your mind, your heart, and your spirit. For Camden and I, I see it as a time to restore our marriage too. Not that it’s fallen apart, but it's taking the time to just be with each other. Not letting the distractions of e-mail, text messages, or social media take away from us being on this great adventure together.
There’s a quote by John Muir that many know well:
I find this to be true. Whenever there are trials in life, I find the most clarity when I’m lost in nature. When I’m surrounded by God’s beauty, the silence of the trees or the roar of the ocean, I can squelch the fears inside and rest. I can return to life with my soul renewed, my heart healing, and hope for the future.
If you are struggling, I encourage you to find a place you can go to renew yourself: the mountains, a waterfall, the beach, or even the park. Any place you can go to be alone and reflect. To find your peace and joy in the circumstance.
In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.