My blog has had so many growing pains over the last four years (yipes! my blog turns FOUR at the end of the month!) as I’ve struggled to figure out exactly where I am not only in my life, but that I’m writing about. But one thing that has been pretty constant has been the fact that I want to talk about faith and spirituality, mine in particular. And a major part of my spirituality is taking everything – good, bad, and indifferent, and finding not only good things, but true joy. I think if there was a single thing that defined my path, joy would be it. Joy at its core. And that’s what I try to share with you every day, both here on the blog and over on SCL’s Facebook page. Granted, some of it isn’t exactly “joyful” for me when it happens, but I share it hoping that it will give you a giggle – like last night’s run in with the cat at midnight. Yes, I’m still a little scarred by that. 😛
That said, I also know what it’s like to go through something difficult and looking at someone who I really respect and wish my life could be more like theirs. Well, if you ever look at me, and at the relationship I have with my husband, I don’t want you to think we have a perfect relationship. Not because it’s hopeless to want happiness. But because even those of us who seem to be the happiest, those of us who are so close to one another have struggles and STILL manage to be happy. What brought this on was a comment made by a friend of mine recently. She mentioned how one day she wanted to be as happy as Joshwa and I are, wanted a relationship as easy as ours is. It’s not the first time I’ve heard such a sentiment – we heard it a lot before we got married (when we spent more time with people) – but it’s the first time I’ve heard it in a while.
The fact is, Joshwa and I have problems. Believe it or not, we actually fight sometimes. Thankfully, it’s a rare occurrence these days and it’s always been something we’ve both been willing to work past. Because that’s the point in a relationship – both being willing to face and overcome any obstacles, within ourselves or without, because you can’t fathom living without the other person by your side. You cannot go into a relationship hoping to change the other person. And you cannot stay in a relationship where you are the only one willing to put in the work to make it work.
And I talk about living a charmed life – because, seriously, how can I see it as anything but? Every time there is a struggle, every time we’ve come to the point of leaping into something different, something new – there is always something that comes up to help us, to some opportunity or person that finds themselves there in a place and willingness to help us. But the thing is, there has to be strife, there has to be struggle, for that charm to work. I discussed once on my friend’s blog, The Barefooted Mama, the meaning of the spiral to me. You can find that here.
And as I said earlier, the heart of my path is joy. Sometimes it’s a struggle to find my joy, to remind myself to look for joy. But the fact of the matter is, if we don’t struggle, if we don’t have moments of sadness and sorrow, we lose our appreciation of joy. And if you lose that, is it still joy; or does it become simply complacency? Complacency isn’t enough. Contentment – while having it’s place – isn’t enough when there is joy to be had for anyone willing to look for it. And trust me, some days it’s a struggle.
I don’t think I’ve ever been clinically depressed – I don’t know, as I’ve never seen a doctor about it – but I’ve been depressed quite a bit off and on. Some days I have no idea how I’m going to force myself out of bed. Or I sit here in my living room and wonder what the point of it all is. And then other days, I listen to the rain or the wind or I stand in the sun. Or better yet, we get on the bike and we ride. And I don’t have to look for the joy, I don’t have to force myself to find it, because it finds me. Yes, the things that bring me down are still there, are still part of my life that have to be dealt with. But that doesn’t mean that the joy isn’t there, too. And let’s face it, joy makes all things easier to deal with.
If you are going through darkness, if you’re struggling with something – spiritually or in your “regular life” – look for the joy. Because moments like that are given us so we can better appreciate the fullness of joy. Yeah, it’s hard, but the payout is worth it. And so are you.