With the imminent New Year just hours away, I find it incumbent on myself to share a brief review of this past years resolution: Finding Joy in All Things.
So many thoughts have been mulling around in my mind this past week, thoughts of this past year and it's now shared secrets, and what's to come in the new year. Last Christmas of 2012, I hung our new family ornament on the tree:
It was a crystal dove, one that I had purchased while in NY visiting my parents in a time of great turmoil and pain. I hadn't even realized the significance of my purchase until I flew home and hung it on the tree. I had purchased the ornament while my subconscious and mind were looking for peace amidst chaos.
I set my goal for 2013, to find JOY in all things, not knowing at all what the year had in store for me. I worked hard at enjoying the little moments with my kids, and I found joy in my job, and in loving my husband. And then my dad neared his time to die. The many months prior to his death were so painful and awful, and I struggled so much in finding joy in those moments. I've already posted so much on his pain and suffering and death, I won't get into details once more. Finally, the day arrived. The moment arrived when I knew I would see him without his spirit inside any longer. My spirit knew. But my mind....my mind was ablaze with terror. I had barely survived the nine months of sheer torture, and I feared that seeing him dead would be even worse, and I didn't know how I would be able to control myself. I had broken down in tears so many times, and had struggled to keep the choking sobs inside for so long, that as I drove to the nursing home that morning he passed, my heart was racing and my mind was exploding with fear. "How can it get an worse????" I panicked. "How can I make it through this!".
And then something unexpected happened. It was as if God had heard the silent, surreptitious prayers that my spirit was pounding out for me, because I couldn't even think straight enough to say them myself. I entered my father's room, where he had passed just 5 minutes prior, and I was filled with an emotion I had not counted on feeling. An emotion that carried me through that day. It was the sweet, comforting feeling of peaceful joy.
It has taken me these many months to sort out what exactly happened that day, but I remember that feeling as brightly as if it was yesterday. My father was gone, his spirit was released from his tortured body, and as I entered the room, it was as if a breath of life washed over me, and the weighted anchor that had hung around my neck for the nine months of his illness had been lifted. And I was joyous it was over.
While the tears still flowed from my eyes, it was almost as if I was cleansing myself of the pain and sorrow I had been carrying. I still felt that joy of knowing he was done suffering. I still felt that joy of knowing I could breathe again. And the joy I felt knowing that families are eternal, and I will someday see my father again.
Somehow, in the most difficult moment, I had found joy. I know that it's because the Lord was pouring it all over my poor little torn and tattered spirit, but I still found it and drank it in.
After his funeral, I flew home to a brand new house. My husband had closed on our very first home the day after my father passed away, and had kept it a secret and had moved everything up. I am so grateful to have a husband like Kristoffer. The next few months we spent just about every day pouring our efforts into fixing up our new home, and loved it. I found joy in creating a new home in a new town with my wonderful family.
I've found so much joy this year. And I'm so happy! What a wonderful thing to know we *can* find joy in this life, and not just the next. Men are that they might have JOY! So I conclude my 2013 resolution a success, and I will continue to hold fast to it in the years to come, it's so important! I hope we can all find true joy in the following year.