I have been enjoying this very good book, Choosing Joy which I have absolutely loved, and it inspired the following reflection.
Imagine you’re sitting down to tea with Mary, and perhaps Martha.
And you hang your head on the table, and groan.
“Can you please tell me, Mary, and Martha…just when can I consider myself a grown-up? Sometimes, I don’t feel like a grown-up at all.”*
Mary turns her shoulders to you, to face you. She puts two sugar cubes in her tea, and this is her advice: “With every job that must be done, there is an element of fun and SNAP! The job is a game!”
“Ohhhhh,” you grimace.
“Tell me, Martha…..when can you finally proclaim that you’re an official grown-up?”
She puts down her cup, and says, “Never thee stop believin’ in th’ Big Good Thing an’ knowin’ th’ world’s full of it – and call it what tha’ likes. Tha’ wert singin’ to it when I come into t’ garden.”
And you hang your head in dismay.
“But really, tell me!” you cry. “What is joy? When does joy show up? Where can I find joy?”
You call your mom and dad. They say something to this effect:
“When you are able to choose joy for yourself, as this is the most becoming habit, you will find it. Joy is in the choosing,” they say. “Just like sitting down to write, or do any other old thing.”
You call your Aunt Susan, and here’s what she says:
“The hardest moments—the meltdown moments—where you just wanted some peace and quiet, or when this-is-not-how-I-was-hoping-this-would-be, and yes, I’m talking about your meltdowns, not the kiddos’—those are the moments of heart change. Those are the moments that turn into opportunities. We can shine, or we can melt. We can pull a hungry, tired body into our arms, and show love.”
Your mentor Jeanine asks:
Where is your heart, when the grocery list is long, and so is the carpool line?
Where is your heart, when you see the craftiness of someone in blogland, and it bends under hopeless envy?
Where is your heart, when someone else gets “liked” on facebook, and you were just hoping for someone to notice you?
Where is your heart, when all you want to do is give up- give up on the writing, give up on the laundry, give up on the housework, because it isnt a piecee of cake, give up on the exercise…. and collapse into bed?
Your best friend Sondra says:
Is envy stealing your joy?
Are the next person’s coveted pinboards covered in perfection stealing your joy?Maybe you just need a cookie. Or a box full. 😉
Your priest Frank says, simply:
“Truly, truly, meditating on these words, ‘Abide in God’s love.. these things I have spoken that your joy may be full’…and saying a sincere prayer—Our Father, who art in Heaven—truly these things will replace a hopeless, helpless, tired, angry groan…with joy.”
And then, you can consider yourself all grown-up.
The words may flow freely, or they may not.
And I turn to Martha and Mary, and say:
“When I’m making dinner, I could choose to lose my cool. I have, often enough before. But even if the children are hanging on me, even if one is whining and the other is crying, even if I know their levels are protein are dangerously low, and their blood sugar has taken a dive, compassion is a choice. My heart can burn with envy or it can melt, in a good way. Like apples dipped in freshly melted caramel on a back porch in November. It can melt into joy.”
And isn’t that God’s intent for us right now?
Martha whispers, “Stop. If I’ve learned anything from Jesus, it’s that one word: stop. Stop and be with him.”
“And,” Mary whispers, “love.”
How do you make time for joy in your daily routine?
Be sure to check out our Book Notes archive.[team title=”About Tacy Beckbt” subtitle=”” url=”http://www.TacyWilliamsBeck.com” image=””]Tacy Williams Beck, is a wife, Mom, writer, and recent convert to the Catholic church.She is mother to three incredible girls – Molly Jane, Frances Eleanor, Madeleine Esther, and a boy, Anders Eliot. Find her online at TacyWilliamsBeck.com. She also hosts a blog called Vox Luminis. If you’re interested in sharing your story, please contact her at [email protected]! She would love to hear from you.[/team]
Copyright 2013 Tacy Beck