I’ve laughed at myself a lot over the past week. Last week, I wrote about the role of joy in getting through hard times and the importance of embracing joy when things are going wrong. And it just seems that ever since I clicked, “publish” on that post, I’ve been tested on it. Stresses and worries have arrived by the boatload while joy and peace have been increasingly elusive.
But there has been hope – thanks in part to Margaret Feinberg:
Most days rejoicing didn’t make us feel better. Some moments buoyed our spirits, and laced us with smiles that attracted new friends. More often, it opened a floodgate of tears. Joy is an action, regardless of what our emotions reveal.” (ebook location 1123, emphasis mine)
As Sara Frankl often said, we choose joy. Especially in the hard, painful times.
It’s kind of a silly analogy, but it works for me… let’s flash back to one particular long trail…
A couple of years ago, I hiked 8-ish miles with a group of my friends through some extremely beautiful, but fairly challenging terrain. I laugh now because I think back to when we first started out on the trail. I was fairly bouncy and spent most of the first couple of miles at the head of the pack. I felt good. I was breathing deeply. I felt alive…
I would say that the first half of the hike, I was doing very well. Moving quickly. In no pain. But as the trail stretched onward and upward, I became more aware that I was pushing the boundaries of my limitations. I was getting tired. I was beginning to hurt. And the end was nowhere in sight.
And then, my friend’s 7-year-old daughter – full of energy – dropped back on the trail to take my hand. She didn’t want me to feel alone or be left behind. And after a while, when she was distracted and wandered away, my other friends began to take turns coming back to encourage me – to take my hand or walk with me. We would top a hill or round a corner, and the rest of the group would be there waiting.
This is how life is supposed to be, you know. We take the journey, helping each other along. We give a hand where it’s needed. We pass around our trail mix and water – sharing what we have with the others who need. And we enjoy the trail together – each at our own pace – but together.
I don’t regret it. I learned lessons and saw the love of God, working in my life, through some of the people I love the most. It taught me lessons about loving better, sharing more, and being more of an encouragement, that I wouldn’t have learned if I’d avoided the long, hard trail. It made the trail and the pain worth it.
This post is part of a weekly book discussion on Margaret Feinberg’s “Fight Back With Joy.” You don’t have to read the book to take part in the discussion. If you have written a response to this week’s chapter, please drop by my co-facilitator’s place to link up at the widget.
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We have a winner of Margaret Feinberg's book Fight Back With Joy! And our winner is TC Avey!! TC, contact me for the details about how to get your book! Congratulations! Everyone else, I'll see you back here (and at my co-facilitator Jason's) next week to begin our discussion! … [Read More...]