Life can be extremely unpredictable, especially mine. At times, particularly when I’m overwhelmed or experiencing intense challenges, it can be hard to focus on anything other than the current storm. I think that’s a natural part of the human psyche – at least for me. And though it is likely to be uncomfortable to do, acknowledging our struggles, learning from them, and (ideally) growing from them ultimately benefits us, or at least increases our awareness so that we can hopefully be better equipped for the encore – for more problems are sure to come again one day. At the bare minimum, it becomes part of our life story.
But it’s also important to be intentional about focusing upon positive aspects of life too. We will always, unfortunately, face some type of difficulty. However, even in the midst of difficulty, there might be something in our lives that is joyful, even if it seems small and insignificant. We have to make sure that we not only don’t miss the good things in our lives, but that we make an effort to actively search for them. And that we give ourselves some time and energy to revel in them, to rest in them, as much as we are able. Because without those moments of happiness, what does it all really mean?
It’s been a difficult last few days/weeks/months/years for me. Lots of tears; lots of feelings of despair and hopelessness; lots of hurt; lots of betrayal; lots of loss. But there have also been moments of sunshine. I want to take a few lines to write about the things that make me smile.
Like the gleeful melody of my children’s laughter.
Like the thrill I feel when one of my students who has been struggling “gets” a concept.
Like the soft caress of sand on my bare feet as I stroll the beach.
Like the sweet nostalgia that envelopes me when I hear a song from certain periods of my life.
Like the smell of jollof rice and sweet plantains on the stove at my parents’ house.
Like the warm kiss of the sun on my skin on a day that’s not too hot, not too cold, but just right.
Like the rhythmic drumbeat echoing through the sanctuary during worship service.
Like the fluttering anticipation of beginning a book I’ve been eager to read.
Like the sense of release and fulfillment that comes once I’ve completed some writing.
Like the quiet joy I feel if I’m able to help someone, support someone, guide someone.
Like the slow, sweet dimpled grin my baby boy gives me when he sees me.
Like the poorly-concealed pride in my older sons’ voice when he has accomplished a task.
Like the powerful awe/gratitude that pierces me when someone does something kind for me.
Like the tingly, explosive feeling of sharing a kiss with someone you deeply love.
Like the stimulating pleasure of gaining knowledge and being intellectually challenged.
Like the calm, focused peace that sustains me during a service or volunteer endeavor.
Like the buzzing giddiness of getting ready to embark on an adventure.
Like the stable, steady glow of loving and being loved.
If history is intended to establish a pattern of what is to come, I will have battles to fight until the day I draw my last breath. I will have troubles to overcome, mistakes to correct, lessons to learn. Therefore, I will – I must – remember the pleasure. Remember the good. Remember the positive. I need it to sustain me through the bad; I need it to remind me that even though life often hurts, often stabs, often sucks, there is also joy in being alive.