I KNOW we came to earth to be tried, tested and all the while we are to find JOY. This is in and of itself, a trial and a test at times. I know that "Joy" and "Happiness" are two completely different things and if we haven't figured out the difference, we will lead a life of Misery and Pain.
I have been watching the world through the eyes of the television lately. This is something that I usually try to avoid doing but with all the turmoil in Haiti and with the state of our own Nation, it's pretty hard to miss.
Haiti is in shambles! The images I see break my heart and I struggle to feel any thing remotely associated with joy. When I see the sad eyes of precious children who are orphaned, virtually naked and scared, my heart just breaks. I see a small nation polluted with rubble where buildings once stood. I see heartache, sadness, pain and fear in every image. Where is the joy?
So after last nights State of the Union address, which left me terribly discouraged, and the constant barage of photos of Haitian turmoil, I turned the TV off! I opened my scriptures and just randomly let it fall open, which it did, to Matthew 9. This is where Jesus heals a man striken with palsy (verse 2). He saw his son who was "faint" and He told him to "Be of Good Cheer..."
I thought of this verse that I have probably read over a hundred times, but this time, it hit me differently. I felt as if the Savior was talking directly to me! I have been so wrapped up in the agony of frustration that I have forgotten to look for the Joy and Be of Good Cheer.
So I started to reflect on the events in my own life these past few days. While it's true that I have experienced my own sort of turmoil, I have simply forgotten to find JOY. I have been so worried about sweet little grandson who is struggling to learn how to keep breathing no matter what. I have had deep concern for my infirm dad who keeps falling and injuring his already broken back. My son-in-law lost a dear friend yesterday to a suspicious death...It was all too much, so I went to my Yoga class. Interestingly enough, her class was focused on breathing...For one hour, I remembered to BREATHE and really focused on doing so.
Then it hit me! THIS IS LIFE! Nobody said it was supposed to be all chocolates and roses. Earthquakes happen. Politicians are not always honest. Elderly parents get sick. I get sick. My sweet grandchildren get sick. On and on and on...that's the plan, that's the way it is! I have NO control over what happens in the world and even sometimes in my own life, but I DO have control over how I handle it and the key is, FIND THE JOY!...be of good cheer.
So this morning I awoke and decided to find the joy in everything today. I let my dogs out and actually stood on the front porch for a moment to enjoy the beauty of the morning. The new snow that glistened in the early morning dawn actually warmed my heart! I poured a glass of juice and thought how blessed I am that I can enjoy it in a warm, beautiful, cozy home knowing that my sleeping husband is healthy and well in the next room. I realized that even though my dad is in constant pain, he is joyful and he makes me laugh. He is a strength to us all and continues to fulfil his role as "father" even though his body had failed him.
I realized that my precious grandson who struggles for life-sustaining breath, gives me more love than he will ever realize. I have already learned from his example of endurance. I marvel at how strong he was in the hospital these past few days as he was poked and prodded. I watched as he was hooked up to all sorts of monitors and awakened by numerous health care professionals who needed to check his vitals. Through it all, he managed to eek out the sweetest smiles. He cuddled closely with me and would look into my eyes as if to say, "it's OK, Nana, be of good cheer".
So there is the joy...I found it! It is all around us and we need to sometimes just stop and take a breath. Stop and look. Stop and be still...Stop and thank the Lord for the precious moments and very trials that help us to become stronger. As long as we have breath, we must find the joy in each breath and each moment. That is the challenge! So today, I am going to look for joy. I am going to be thankful for all that I have and most importantly, I'm going to remember to BREATHE!