So I have been asked to speak at a church women’s Christmas brunch on the theme of Joy. Did they know that joy has often felt like my nemesis? That if I ever write a book or biography I plan to title it “My long arduous trek towards joy. (Inspired by Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom). I struggled with depression for a good 15 years. That was mostly under control when cancer hit. All said, tackling being content in life has been a lifelong active pursuit that has not been obvious, automatic, or genetic. I can say that God has brought me a long way. I can share that I have to work at it! When I am disciplined in health it comes much more – time in nature, exercise, nutritional eating, friends, community, prayer, scripture, inspiration, mindfulness meditation- I more often than not feel a sense of joy that I did not know possible.
Today, is just not one of those days.
I still have not recovered from the nuclear isotope petscan, camera down my throat procedure, ongoing iv cancer treatment, my yearly physical and flu shot all in 4 days! I don’t bounce back like when I was 38 doing this same stuff. I’ve been dragging and feeling physically weak. And ultimately, after lots of sleep, that makes me feel sad. I’m very dependent upon feeling good for joy. But, Scripture tells me a different path. Spirituality is often a path of embracing suffering. In my mindfulness meditation I am taught to Pause, Settle down, Be Quiet and Listen to what is really happening inside of me. I am taught to pay attention to my breath. Not judge it, not try to change it just notice it. Breath. In the book of Genesis – God breathed life into creation and saw that “it was good. “ After being raised from the dead, Jesus describes the power of the Holy Spirit that indwells believers and first appeared as a “Rush of Wind.”
Join me as a I venture into understanding this breath of life deeper. For I think that life itself, breath, the creative force of God, is Joy itself. Many wise people have pointed out that to live is to suffer. When we suffer we live. In The Message translation of the Bible Paul speaks about how he begged God to remove his handicap. What he heard back was “ My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12.