VALUE IN YOUR OWN JOY
My Mother said to me recently, “it takes so much work to be sad.” “be happy. It’s so much easier.” Sometimes easier said than done I think. But is it really? Isn’t happiness a choice? Choose joy.
There is value in your own joy. In fact, I’m pretty positive about it. Here’s why.
I read an instagram post (Glennon Doyle Melton) yesterday morning that froze me. There was a lot to it, but for the sake of a non extra long post, read this:
“It’s true that God teaches us through pain. But it’s also true that God tries to teach us through joy first. You can keep choosing heartbreak and pain, but you can also choose joy. God can use that choice too. And actually I believe that God prefers to use joy to teach us.”
“I choose joy. You can too. First the pain. Then the rising. Your courage is bigger than your fear.”
Not sure why this hit me so hard. Perhaps it was my morning. Perhaps it was written perfectly. Perhaps because it’s obvious. Joy is happiness. Happiness is everything. Why wouldn’t we choose joy? Pain is a mother fucker. It sucks. Truth. It sucks us dry. But usually we have enough juice left to keep going. To keep living. To keep believing in the hope that there’s joy. The hope. That’s a big deal. And I wanna live right there. Forever.
But how do we choose joy? How do we unlock the box of pain where we like to sit so comfortably? For everyone it’s different. But the reason why this hit me so hard and the reason why I choose joy is this. There’s value in your own joy. There’s a miracle in it. Why? Because if you choose a lifetime of joy, that's your life. Your life is of value. Think about that for a second. For example, my mother has been known to the whole family for being “a pig in shit.” This simply means when us kids are all together in a room and we’re laughing and being a family, if you glance over to my mother, you will see she’s got a permanent smile on her face that just won’t stop. We often say to her "Mom, you’re a pig in shit right now aren’t you?” To which she replies, “Yep.” Usually that’s followed by more laughter, more smiling and tears. Tears of joy. You see, pigs love shit. My mother, most of the time, is a pig in shit. Her choice by the way.
My Mom lives there. She basks in it. Struck with tragedy early in her life she made a choice as a teenager/young adult to choose joy. The last time we shared a martini, she told me a story about choosing joy. It was about meeting my Dad’s family when they were teenagers and dating. She said "I went over to their house and they were all so loud and happy and smiling. Dancing around the house with joy on their faces." She told me she liked the way that felt. Joy made her feel good. And she wanted that feeling forever. She went on to marry my Dad. 48 years now and counting. And all I recall of my childhood and family life is joy. Her choice to choose joy, directly impacted who we are. That's the value in joy.
Why the choice is hard
Some don’t choose joy so easily as Mom did. Even despite my happy childhood I’ve many a times chosen fear over joy. But every time I’ve chosen joy, I’m so much happier. Duh. It’s a conscious choice. And it’s not easy when fear lathers you up and swallows you whole. But there is a way out. Because choosing joy comes from you and no one else. It’s your life, your breath and if it makes you happy, then do it. Once you live there, I believe it’s hard to go back.
Yes, we all know we're human and it's hard to live there in the happiness/joy box forever. There's hiccups. That's life. But this is what I've learned about it, while living in it and experiencing it first hand. It's miraculous. At moments, it truly feels like heaven. When you get to the other side and hold it in your hands, it's pretty remarkable. And baby steps have value. This has been my lesson. The path to joy has immense value. Sometimes it's in the moment your babies wake up and they smile at you as if today is the greatest day on earth. Sometimes it's the moment your husband holds your hand and tells you "we're the lucky ones". And sometimes it's the moment your Dad is making your babies laugh uncontrollably and the joy you feel is immeasurable. That's the value in your own joy. That's where I hope to live. Inside that joy. And even when I'm not, to know it exists and to live within that hope, that's where I'll be. Believe me, that value doesn't come with a price.