Saturday, November 17, 2018

Choosing Joy

I have a quote on my bulletin board that is worth sharing this week:

"Not every storm is in the forecast.
Trials and tribulations can always be counted on
At different times throughout our lifetime.
So why not choose joy anyway?
Take ordinary days and find the joy,
For it is not around us,
Nor in our circumstances.
It is inside of us.
It is always there.
No matter what, 
Choose Joy!"
--Author Unknown

I recall in the early days after my life explosion that I struggled with intense anxiety, and for very legitimate reasons. It seemed that every time I pillowed my head, the anxious thoughts would come unbidden!

Will I get a job?
Will I survive this?  Will my kids?
What will the next headline be?
What if I become homeless?

And I learned that simply finding things for which to be thankful chased the anxious thoughts away. I learned that fear and gratitude cannot co-exist.  It became a nightly ritual--expressing gratitude for the simple things and by doing so, I found peace from my anxiety and surprisingly, joy was its companion!

Recently my husband and I were camping (some would call it glamping, I admit) and a ferocious storm rolled in.  The wind howled, lightening flashed frequently and the rain came down in buckets.  I feared we would blow away and got up frequently to check out the camper, look out the window and pace.  But then I stopped my anxious pacing and got still enough to listen to the storm.  I live in a desert--we don't get much rain, much less thunderstorms.  I found great joy in simply being in the midst of the storm and being ok.  I focused on the smell of the rain, the sound of it hitting our camper and was grateful for our refuge and for the experience.

Our world is such an anxious place these days--from political unease to wildfires to floods and vicious crime--the nightly news is something to be avoided if we want to sleep!  But we will soon pause and gather with our families to celebrate a day of giving thanks.  In spite of all that our country and world is experiencing right now, life is still grand and full of wonder and joy.  We simply must choose what we focus on--the turmoil of the storm or the beauty of the rainbow.  We are offered a choice.  I choose gratitude.  I choose joy,

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