Sunday, February 3, 2019

Corresponding Joy


What a great word. A feeling of great pleasure and happiness. To rejoice.

Even saying it is fun. “Joy”

This morning, while sitting at our kitchen table, I said it a number of times. Sometimes fast. Sometimes slow. JOY. joy. JOYYYY. Yes, it’s a great word. (And yes, I realize that I sound kinda of nuts.)

You see, I haven’t been feeling it. I mean, at all. Nothing. And yes, I hear you . . . I know that it is OK not to feel it. I know that we are going through some stuff and we are processing and grieving and working on it and feel what we should feel and everything is normal. I know that I am doing ok. But I have been in such a funk that I have struggled to SMILE some days. And if you know me, you know that smiling is one of my things. But my heart . . . my heart is broken.

When I woke this morning, I told myself that I have to try to find something to bring JOY to my soul.

Today, dear friends, I am making a conscious decisions to fill myself with joy. With bright colors and happy reading and journal drawing and letter writing and good coffee and . . .  joy.

It is harder than one would think. But today, I feel like I have to try. I felt dark last night. Alone. So very sad. I wanted to sleep. I was achy and drained. We had two really nice classes at the Art Shoppe during the day, so it was a productive day. But when I got home last evening, I was just . . . down.

When I woke this morning, I opened all the blinds and shades in the house to let some natural light
 in. As I walked from room to room, I knew I needed something more. The light felt good, but it wasn’t enough. Quickly I went to my “bag-o-fun” that I keep in the corner of our living room (it my junk bag of inspiration that hold things that make me happy), and I pulled out the necessities. I told myself, “that’s it - we have to work for the joy today. So let’s bring it,” and I piled the kitchen table with those things that I love. Inspirational magazines I have collected in the past few months that I haven’t cracked open once, specific cards I have bought for dear loved ones that I haven’t mailed, a bright colored art journal and some new pastels and colored pencils I haven’t used nearly enough, my favorite pencil, and my Frida headband of flowers . . . because, you know, Frida makes everything better. Oh, and an Iced coffee - that I made in Laura’s to-go cup that my brother-in-law had given to me . . . because when you have the same initial as your sister, you are pretty lucky (for a whole bunch of reasons.)

I scattered my goodies on the table, and sat for a minute.


These are the things that get my heart to stir a little. These are the things that bring me joy. And for a brief few minutes right here, I remembered what it felt like. My heart . . . stirred, and I thought, “It’s not gone. You still have it. You will find it again.”

It’s funny how you go through these periods of such intense sadness in your life - in your head, you know you will get through it - but deep in your heart, you wonder if you will ever find the joy again. Maybe it’s just me. But my friends, I truly have wondered.

So this morning, I wanted to share it with you. To let you know that I felt it. That I know it is there. And I know I will feel it again. I just have to work to find it, sometimes.

And my dear friends, I hope you have it in you. The Joy.

And may you have it this very moment.

Thank you for being here, as always.


Thursday, January 31, 2019

Faith . . .

My dearest friend Kathleen and I talked last night about Faith. First, while talking on the phone, then continuing our thoughts through text as more things came to our minds on the subject.

My friend has always been one of the most faithful individuals in my life. For 40 years, she has been in my life . . . and for 40 years I have admired the constant presence God has had in hers. I have spent a great part of these 40 years trying to learn from her, to follow her examples, to trust, to pray, to do all those things people of great faith do. Some times I have been successful at it. Other times, not so much.

She told me last night, as she has told me many times the past few months, "I pray for you everyday... so when you can't pray, I am praying for you."

That is a beautiful friend.

But, I am trying. I am trying to find my faith. Truly, I am. But the sadness I have been feeling seems greater each day, instead of less.

I keep thinking - maybe I am doing something wrong. I am saying those words. I am praying each and every day. I am spending quiet moments thinking of Him. I am asking for strength. For courage. I am trying very hard to show love. I am treating others as I want to be treated. I went to church in the middle of a snow storm, for Pete's sake. (Maybe I shouldn't say "for Pete's sake". I just googled it and it appears to be a substitute for God . . . maybe that is frowned upon. Hmmmm. Ok. I shall ponder.)
I digress.

I am trying. To find my faith. And doing these faithful things.

But my friends . . . I got nothing.

I sit at church and am easily distracted by anything that catches my eyes. I kneel and pray and cry, and beg for some sort of feeling or epiphany. Nothing. Just me . . . with tissue in hand blotting my smudged mascara and blowing my runny nose.

But I am trying.

The other day, I pulled a book down from my book shelf and started reading it. I have had it for a couple years - it's subject one of interest to me. "My Sisters the Saints: A Spiritual Memoir" by Colleen Carol Campbell.  I never read it when I initially added it to my shelf. I feel like it was waiting for me. For when the time was right. Like, now.

In it's pages, I found some restitute.


When it comes down to it . . . I cannot force God to do what I want or explain why He has not done what I want. I cannot, and could not, force God to heal my sister. I am looking to Him to let me in on his little plan - the whys and why nots. But God is God, and I am not. I will, more than likely, never understand. I cannot control. I cannot predict. Case closed.

And . . .

I am going to say that outloud, just one more time.

"God does not abandon us in our suffering but uses suffering to draw us closer to him."

Yes, now that I get.

Because I do feel closer to Him.

I am leaning on him, hourly it seems. I am still waiting for that big "ah-ha" moment. But . . . maybe it will never come. Maybe it is not about that. Maybe.

So, my friends. That is me and faith as it stands today.

I have it. I believe. But man . . . it is still so very hard.

And I am still incredibly sad.

But, I have faith.

Sorry to go all "holy roller" on you. I am holding on to whatever I can these days, it seems. Trying to get by with whatever I can hold on to. Trying to find . . . my way.

And as always, I am grateful to you for being here with me.

Sending you peace and love today, dear friends.

p.s. We have a polar vortex thingamajig happening in Chicago right now. It is -20 right now, feels like -30. Crazy. I just felt like I HAD to mention it. I have been couped up in the house for a couple days. (Hence, the big thoughts on faith, I guess.) I might venture out . . . tomorrow. :)

p.p.s. I have now officially written THREE blog posts this year. That is THREE MORE than last year, and the year before, and the year before. YAY!

p.p.p.s. I am glad to be writing again. It feels good. Really good.


Monday, January 28, 2019

Being "Fixed" . . . or at least Trying

This popped up on my Facebook feed the other day.

I sat and read the words over and over. 

That is true, right? I looked it up . . . just to make sure. 

Nope . . . nothing in the definition of "broken" suggests, to me , that something can be fixed. 

Well, that sort of sucks. 

I am trying, anyway. To be fixed. 

It is hard. 

Phil took me away for a few days. He had to visit Miami Beach for work (rough, I know. Especially in the middle of January.) He convinced to me tag along and try to get some rest - to try and clear my mind and sooth my soul. I am so grateful for the opportunity to do that. To just . . . BE. 

But sometimes "BEing" can be really, really difficult. 

The weather was gorgeous.

The drinks were plentiful. 

The beach was truly . . . breathtaking. 

And my soul . . . my soul rested. 

But sometimes . . . when your heart is broken . . . those moments of "BEing" make you miss something in your life so deeply, that all you can do it cry. Sometimes "BEing" makes you feel really terribly and horribly guilty that YOU are BEing - and someone you love so very much . . . is not. Sometimes "BEing" makes you want to crawl up in a ball and just never get up again (or at least, never get up for a long time.)

Damn, being broken is the hardest thing. 

But being fixed? Well  . . . I will let you know how that feels when I get there. 

Wishing you peace, dear friends. 
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