The Never Ending Chronicles of The Ring, Lesson 3: Finding JOY
When the diamond on my ring fell off in February of 2010 I was devastated. When I found it, days later, I was overjoyed! And I do mean OVERjoyed! As in elated, ecstatic, thrilled! I really cannot give you the words that would 100% represent how delighted I was to find my most special wedding jewel. I completely forgot that just one moment earlier I was a bit grumpy and quietly grumbling about making breakfast. I couldn’t even touch the ring, I just started screaming! From all corners of the house my family came running into the kitchen. I mean they knew by the sound in my voice that something had just happened. There was no mistake that I was over the moon. I pointed to the diamond sitting next to an egg-making frying pan in the cupboard. As I did I could see their faces just staring at me. I’m sure I was shining brighter than the sun at that moment. And although the diamond did not mean much to my kids, they could not help but share in the contagious joy along with me. My husband Farhad swept it up with a huge smile. My kids started cheering with me and danced around a bit.
After the thrill died down, Farhad and the kids went back to what they were doing. But I was still glowing on the inside as I pulled out a frying pan to make some eggs for breakfast. What a gift to be able to feel the excitement of finding something so very important to me. It made me ask myself, “How often do I get that feeling over the treasure of my family? How often does my family get to see a smile on my face that can’t be extinguished?” I could not have created that feeling of true sadness and disappointment when I lost the diamond. I could not have created the pure joy when it was found. Those were circumstances out of my control. But if I had never found the ring, would it have been right for me to walk around for the rest of my days with a face that is down cast? Why should I wait for a good circumstance to live with a joy attitude and give that gift to my family more often? I mean it was more than evident that it had a wonderful impact on all of them.
As I made breakfast that morning I couldn’t help but let my mind wander off to another time in my life. After giving birth to my son in the summer of 2004, I lost the use of my legs completely. My pelvic had split open in the delivery room. I came home in a wheelchair with a newborn son, an 18 month old daughter and a husband in just as much shock as I was. It took several months of rehabilitation to regain control and a year and a half to be able to walk at a “normal” pace. Throughout that season I remembered a lesson that a dear lady, Carolyn, had taught me. She said that when her husband passed away she never denied the pain but she did put up notes around the house that said, “Choose Joy.” “Choose Joy because it is a choice,” she had said. In those months of pain and therapy I chose Joy again and again. I strongly believe that because of that choice our family unit became closer and stronger. We had more moments of connecting than if I had not made that choice day after day. My daughter, Shirin, enjoyed daily rides around the house on my lap in the wheelchair. My son, Frederick, had my undivided attention because I was forced to stop ALL of my busy activities and all of my running around. My husband, Farhad, will tell everyone that we became a TEAM during that time. It was a hard time, but I got to experience true Joy of a new perspective. Joy in the little accomplishments. Joy in the gifts and support from others. Joy feelings that came after joy actions. Joy because I chose it.
At that time I did not learn about being fake, hiding struggles and pretending everything was fine. Choosing joy was not about choosing to be fake. I had my tear filled moments and my bouts with pain. What I learned about was what it meant when God tells us to be joyful in all circumstances. Having an honest life attitude that spills out from a heart filled with hope and joy. Something that we really cannot manufacture all on our own. As much as it is a choice, we must know where the source real joy comes from. “The Joy of the Lord is our Strength.” OK, but what does that mean? As God fills us up (His Joy on us, His delight in us, His encouragement to us, His comfort upon us) we have the strength to choose joy, live satisfied lives and be content in all circumstances. It’s about not missing opportunities to grow up in our faith and enjoy life in the present. And that is the best gift I could ever offer my family, a joy-filled wife and mom spilling out onto them. If the Joy of the Lord is my strength, then the joy of this here mom can be my child’s strength. Change my face and watch it change theirs!
I finished making my eggs that morning with, yet again, a renewed perspective. I still did not really feel like making that breakfast. But being a bit grumpy and quietly grumbling about it was a heart condition I chose not to favor! I remember saying a prayer, “Oh Lord, help me be Joyful always and not just when things are going my way! That is not what I want to spill out on my family.” Choosing Joy once again I was OVERjoyed to be making eggs for my family. And I served them with an honest smile on my face.