There are times in our lives when nothing seems to go right. There are also times when it seems nothing can go wrong. We have all had both kinds of days. When we are in the former, our psyche, our very soul, seems to get beaten down by all the pressures, stresses, and negatives of life.
Then there are those days when all goes joyously far beyond our wildest dreams and expectations. These are the days we all crave. We get a sort of high. Our smiles become contagious, and we cannot help but be good to one another, just for the shear pleasure of seeing another person smile.
I crave these days just as much as the next person, but with my illness, I oftentimes must work the process in reverse. My days don’t often go beyond my wildest dreams (though sometimes they do), yet I can still feel that rush, that soul healing joy I desperately crave, by first giving and smiling and loving on others.
This is one of the secrets to my joy. Listen closely, now. It lightens the burden on my soul when I give freely of my worldly, oftentimes cherished, belongings.
Have I lost you? Let me elaborate. My physical being is a mess. I have Lyme disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, adrenal fatigue, arthritis, migraines, blah, blah, blah. The list goes on and on, unfortunately. Needless to say, I am in constant pain, and this state of constant pain puts a damper on my naturally good mood.
But the Lord is good. He has shown me how to find bits of joy amongst my pain, interspersed with my tears.
Best of all, He has shown me how to get a booster shot when I need it, to energize and heal my soul. It is as simple as giving. Donating. Even tithing (and now I hear a bunch of non-church-goers going, “ugh”). It does my soul good, knowing that something I am able to give can do so much good in someone else’s life.
Ken took a load of building supplies to the Habitat Restore Store this morning.
My heart swelled, and so did his.
Ken took an equally large load to the Salvation Army thrift store.
His smile threatened to push his ears clean off his face, as his mood soared. And mine did, too.
Even with two truckloads gone, we still had a lot to make decisions on. Then I remembered freecycle. It is a yahoo group here in the Portland area. I imagine there might be more chapters around the country. It is worth checking out. We gave away some large ticket items that we simply could not sell. Ken said he would haul them to the appropriate places for donation, but I was feeling so good, soul-wise, at this point that I suggested we list them on freecycle. Within an hour, the first large item was gone, the second is pending pickup tomorrow, and the third, well I’m waiting to hear back as to when she wants to pick it up.
My joy is overwhelming today, even though my body is riddled with pain and my stress level is through the roof.
My stress is so high because we have only a few days left here in Portland before we hit the road, and we have a ton of work to do still. Having access to this “heavenly joy” will allow me to keep on, minute by minute, keeping faith that God will get us over this hurdle. It will allow me to do what little I can to help, with a smile on my face, instead of tears and heartache for all that I cannot physically do.
I wish you this level of joy. I pray that you have instances in your life where the “pay it forward” system of living and giving will touch your heart and your soul with an over abundance of joy and gratitude.
I had a season of being on the receiving end more often than not over the past year or two, and the receiving also blossomed into wondrous joy, as I realized that others did care and did want to help this tired old soul. They lifted me up with a box of apples, boxes of pears, green beans, a car for our use for three months without charge, a hug and friendship when I needed it most, a bouquet of flowers from a neighbor for “no reason,” many homemade meals delivered hot and ready to eat, and so many other large and small blessings.
I am grateful for all the blessings we have received. And I am grateful for every one of you.