Thursday, March 28, 2013

Shoes, boulders, and joy

I have realized, through the help of my counselor, that I don’t feel joy.  I don’t really feel that extreme happiness that people talk of and about.  I have never really known that freedom to be happy.  I can be happy, yes, but there is not much depth to it.  I have been thinking on why this is and I have come to the realization that it is because I am always waiting for that other shoe to drop as the saying goes.  I tend to try and keep my emotions in check, balanced, whether happy or sad.  I need to prepare, be ready, hide them a little, so as not to be taken by surprise by what is to come next or by someone else’s reaction to my emotions.  Oh that darned hiding thing that I have come to do so well in so many aspects of my life. 

There is not a single moment in my life that I can remember feeling pure unencumbered joy.  Not the birth of my children, my marriage, nothing.   I don’t like that about me.  It leaves me feeling “less than” once again, because I know I am missing out.

It is a learned coping mechanism, another way to try and keep me safe, but while “keeping me safe” it also brings me harm.  I told a friend once that life is just what you do until you eventually get to die.  She told me that is not how it should feel and if it does then something is terribly wrong. 

Where is this joy, this deep well spring of J.O.Y that my God speaks of?  I will tell you where it is, it is blocked by a boulder of F.E.A.R and T.R.E.P.I.D.A.T.I.O.N that I have built up over these last 37 years of life.  I would not say that my life is a life lived in fear.  I feel more leery and weary than fearful, but underneath the leery ever watchful eyes is fear.  Fear that something or someone will come in and take my happiness. 
When my babies were born and I got married I was happy, don't get me wrong, but there is a niggling in my head that says to me not to be too happy, something can always happen.  Babies die, marriages end, something can always go wrong.  I am not anxiety stricken by these thoughts, I just need to be ready for them, so that if they happen the sting may be a little less.  I won't be caught off guard.  I can be somewhat prepared.  If my husband would be late from work and I couldn't get a hold off him I would begin preparing myself for the thought that he may not be coming home, he may have fallen asleep on the road and is dead in a ditch somewhere.  I would try and think of all the things I would have to do to support our family on my own and what my next steps would be.  My sister calls it being morbid and borrowing trouble, I call it being prepared.  Somewhere in my life I felt it necessary to prepare for the worst.

When my sixth baby was 9 months old he was really sick.  He would spike high fevers up to 105 every couple of days and had an ESR of 120 (that shows inflamation in the body, that number is extremely high).  He was also very underweight for his age.  They never figured out what was going on after testing and three days of hospitalization.  He eventually just got over it, but for a long time I worried that it would come back, that they were missing something, and that
when whatever that something was came back it would be too late to fix it.  He is almost 5 now and rarely gets sick at all.  All of this to say that I allow this worry, this need to be ready, to steal the happiness of the moment, so I guess my sister might just be right after all (shhh, don't tell her I said so!). 

I want to be able to live in each moment unconcerned with the next.  I don't want to feel the need to prepare for every possibility, every worst that can happen.  I want to be emotionally free.
 Now here we are coming upon Easter this Sunday.  Easter, the day the stone was rolled away.  If God can roll the stone away from that tomb He certainly can roll away my boulder of fear and trepidation, right?  I think so.  I am not saying I will wake up Easter morning with joy springing out of my soul, but stranger things have happened.

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