Monday, November 2, 2009

Participate in Joy

1. Yesterday the cat pooped in the mud room. Travis discovered a bag of guppies on the school room table that was leaking everywhere. I missed Mass: I had to sit in the car the whole time with Tommy because he was sleeping. I almost threw my back out trying to wrestle Anna in to her car seat, as she screamed in my face. The house is a disaster, even though I spent last week in a decluttering frenzy.

2. Yesterday I watched Oliver load all my groceries into the car with a smile on his face. He is so helpful. I found tons of deals at the grocery store, enabling me to get $75 dollars worth of gas for free! Travis, Anna, and I went to a birthday party with the most delicious food and delightful conversation, while our older children willingly stayed home to babysit their siblings. I had the most relaxing bath with lavender and a candle burning.

Yes. This was the same day.

Now, when I come into my little cave at night to chronicle the happenings of the day, which paragraph am I going to record? I have a whole day full of events to choose from. Which version do you want? Does paragraph number one seem whiny or entertaining to you? Does paragraph two sound uplifting or braggy to you? It's all in the perspective you have of life.

I see my day as a full canvas. I can 'copy, cut, and paste' all the tedious and annoying details of the day, or I can choose to focus on what will make me happy to read when I feel discouraged or when I feel like we are not 'doing much' as a family.

A friend of mine related to me the sad fact that she stopped blogging daily notes because it was discouraging to some of her friends. They felt that in light of all that she was doing, they weren't doing enough with their children.

I can see how these ladies might have felt. I have been guilty of this myself sometimes- mostly before I started my own blog. After I began this blog, my eyes were opened to a reality: everyday every single person may choose what to copy, cut and paste out of their lives onto the canvas of memory. Some may protest, "but I don't do as much with my kids; we never get much done. We had doctor appts all week. We don't have a working car. I am on bed rest. I am not a creative person,etc..." - all very real, hindering, and difficult circumstances.

When one mother reads about the joyful time another mother had baking cookies with her children, maybe complemented by a picture of children with flour dusted on their smiling faces, she feels her heart sink a little. She remembers to herself the last time she baked cookies with her children: She got so frustrated that she ordered them all out of the kitchen and burned the cookies.

I would like to tell you, dear reader, that your blog could be a scrapbook of joy, no matter who you are, or what your circumstances are in life. Maybe on the way to the doctor you stopped to admire an exquisite flower with your child. Or maybe you had a laugh in the waiting room together. You counter, "actually, my two year old threw a tantrum in the office and we had to leave before we even got to see the doctor." The truth is, there is always the negative to counter the positive. There is also the positive to counter the negative. The choice is yours! Some of the most joyful blogs I have read are by people in dire circumstances-cancer, death of a child, etc... It's not that they don't share their struggles and pretend they don't exist; it's almost as if they use these struggles to become more joyful and grateful individuals. My prayer is that we find joy in EVERY situation. What you see on my blog are snippets of my life. I am sure that not one single reader would want to read every detail of every day in my life. That might rival "War And Peace" in the boring dept. (in all fairness, I've never read the book. Is it good?)
I would like to challenge you for one day to copy, cut, and paste moments of joy today. For one day, search for the peaceful, joyful, funny, dramatic, encouraging, grateful moments and record them- even if it's just in your memory (however, I encourage you to write it down!) My sister started a new website: I really like the name she chose. To be joyful we must be willing participants. Go ahead...participate in joy today!!!!