I was reading Circle of Quiet again today and as I finished a chapter the final line struck me. “Joy is a promise.” I’ve never been good at joy. I excel at obsession, and frustration. I usually fail miserably at relaxation. Compartmentalization and I rarely meet. Apparently I’m not the only one. The ladies at my MOPS table and I discussed how we all struggle with letting go of things. We can’t relax well when there are things to do. I lie awake at night with lists scrolling through my head, unable to sleep because I feel like I should be working. Even as I write this my brain spins with all the lists of things yet undone, and how to find the money to pay for them. I found an error in my budget spreadsheet that has resulted in a significant monthly shortfall. It will mean giving up some small luxuries that I have grown dependent one. It makes me angry and sometimes I can’t think about anything else. So when the time comes to spend an evening with my husband, I can’t focus. I can’t just sit in watch a movie while the laundry piles tower around me. Or if I do, I can’t enjoy myself with the guilt I heap on myself. A good wife would have finished all of this days or weeks ago. A good mom would have gotten the clothes into the drawers and had things laid out for tomorrow.
Joy seems rare, the real genuine kind, not the happiness that I’m supposed to feel that I fake. When the children show me a picture or a trick and I smile and pretend I’m interested because I know I should be. But all I can think of us the mess they leave in their wake and how I will get it clean before I pass out at the end of the day in exhaustion. Those moments of real joy when for a little while I can forget it all and just exist for a little while; they don’t happen often. They slip through my fingers like sand. But is right. Joy is a promise. No matter how hard things are, or will be in the future, the moments will always come. The joy is always there, we just need to let it find us. Like a lost child, stop moving and stand still until we are found again.
I need to stand still more. I don’t know how to block out the cacophony. I can’t thinking that the right method, list, software or schedule will solve the problem. But it doesn’t and it won’t. I just need to let it go. I want to be able to latch on to the moments of joy and let them last as long as they ca, wringing out the extra seconds. To enjoy my children, to adore my husband, revel with my friends. Joy can be my promise too. I will always be here. I won’t give up. Never surrender to the encroaching darkness. I will engage with joy and love with abandon.