what we're about

Attempts to illuminate our brief mortal existence

Monday, January 13, 2014

Word for the Year: Joy

My word for this year is Joy.  Last year's word was "struggle," and struggle I did.  One of my biggest takeaways from the experience of the past year is that struggle isn't just a one-year thing; it may have been my word for one year, but it will be and should be a continual part of my life.  I've learned something about the value of struggle, about letting go of my expectation that life should be free of unpleasantness, and, finally, about the joy that comes in and through struggle applied correctly.  Since I know that struggle will be a feature of life going forward, this year I want to focus on that joy.

Joy can be difficult for me.  I'm feeling the reality of this more keenly now then I did a few days ago when this blog post began to germinate.  I've hit a rough post-partum patch.  Life is settling down into its new normal.  Landon is back at work today.  I'm figuring out what I can expect to get done while tending to the needs of my two boys.  The lack of sleep, however, probably in combination with difficulty getting a good diet and the dearth of exercise, is catching up with me.  I am less stable mentally than I have been in at least a year.  Whatever combination of anxiety and obsessive symptoms that float around in my brain are making their presence known.  I woke up this morning with life clinging to me like an ill-fitting outfit, seams in all the wrong places, twisted and too tight, impossible to ignore, making me want to scream and throw things.  Since I can't do that, I settled for yelling at Christopher, snapping at Landon over little things, and storming away from the breakfast table for a good cry in the bedroom because the tip of my strip of bacon (that Landon made for me, in addition to the rest of breakfast) was floppy.  Even I know that this is beyond petty, but when my brain is screaming for an unattainable perfection, something petty can be the last straw.  This is not healthy.  And it's certainly not joyful.  

My goal in choosing "Joy" as my word for the year is to be able to look through the chaos that I kick up for myself to the joy that life holds underneath.  I can't always help it when an out-of-order life feels like a kick in the stomach.  I can remind myself, though, of the joy of my life that makes it worthwhile to fight the lies that my brain and emotions conspire to tell me.  The purpose of all the struggling that I do is not just to struggle because it's the right thing to do, or because I don't want to be beaten down by my own weaknesses.  I am fighting to find the joy that is right under my nose, in my husband who does so much for our family, my toddler who is an explosion of learning and discovery, and my sweet still-but-barely-a-newborn who falls asleep in a squishable heap on my shoulder while I'm burping him.  Beyond these is a community of the sort that one finds perhaps once in a lifetime; wonderful family on both sides; fulfilling activities that keep my brain exercised; and all of this in a world saturated with heartbreaking beauty.  This is true, whether or not I feel the truth of it on a regular basis.  And I'm hoping that, by living into the truth, I will find more consistently the joy that seems sometimes so easy, and sometimes (like now) so elusive.   

No comments:

Post a Comment