I want to remind you to live joyfully. I’m not talking about being happy because things at a particular moment are making you feel good. I mean joy – the deep down, satisfying, contentedness that comes with seeing a bigger picture than the one right in front of you. Sometimes the moment will be joyful of itself, but most of the time you will have to look wider and deeper to find it. You’ve become pretty good at it over these past few years, and I want it to become more and more part of you over the rest of your life.
Of course, life hasn’t been one long happy sunshiny picnic up to now, it isn’t for anyone, and there’s no reason to think the rest of life will be any different, but as the old fashioned hymns and people used to say ‘count your blessings’.
There will never be a day in your life when there isn’t something you can be thankful for. Some days it will be hard to make yourself find it, but it will be there. And as for celebration – every time you have more than the ordinary to be joyful about – celebrate !
Have a party. Eat great food. Put on the music. Dance in the kitchen. Mark the occasion.
Celebrate birthdays and anniversaries. Lavish your family with love on those days – let them know that your life would be so much less without theirs. Celebrate the very fact of their being – not their doing. And allow others to celebrate you when good things happen for you. Do you remember your graduation as a mature masters student ? You didn’t want to go. And yet it turned out to be one of the best family occasions you’ve ever had. Why? Because you were celebrating together with people who loved you. Celebrate the big and the small things. The new jobs and the challenges overcome. Bring celebrations to others when they need them.
Keep reminding yourself and those around you that LIFE IS SO GOOD.
It’s the birthday of your youngest today and as you stood baking cake late last night when all you wanted was to sit down, you let your mind turn from the pile of dirty dishes yet to be washed, to all that your boy has brought to your life.
That was joy you were feeling. Joy fills you up and gives you perspective on things.
Yes, you were still tired and the cake wasn’t turning out as you’d planned and that was annoying, but you had a smile as you remembered days and moments from his life and yours. It’s carrying you through today too.
You don’t need to make yourself joyful, or work at celebration. Just take notice of life around you and you’ll find its there for the taking. Look at the sky, the colours outside, the people in your life, you have no shortage of joyful, life giving prompts!
And don’t worry about joy being there when sorrow is too. That’s the way of life. I think you’ve finally got your head around that. You can actually experience both of these feelings pretty much simultaneously, because so often the good and the bad, the happy and the sad are intermingling in your life and the lives of those you love and care about. Don’t feel guilty for any joy you feel. It is always a good thing.
Learn to live with the tension. It’s part of being human.