I read a beautiful essay today by Joy Clarkson who is wise beyond her years. I love seeing the insight she has into life and the world at large. She was writing about joy, hope, and what it means to be human. It was certainly a thought-provoking piece.
Sometimes we rue the very things that make us human – our emotions, our mistakes, and our regrets. Animals don’t experience intense emotion the way we do as people. They don’t feel the guilt and shame of their mistakes nor do they drown in the weight of their regrets. These are all uniquely human experiences. What if we learned to relish the things that make us human? How would it change our lives?
The grief and despair we felt when we lost our husbands. How we wished we’d done something differently. The way we can laugh even while we’re crying. How we feel better when we call a friend and let out all that we’re feeling inside. The excitement at the prospect of a new relationship. The pride we have in our children. The sting of rejection. The giddiness we can feel when a guy compliments us and we’re instantly taken back to “teenage” mode. All of these things simply mean we’re human. Maybe the hard feelings are necessary for us to truly find joy in the good things. After all, when we have experienced the true depth of loneliness, how much sweeter will it be once we are no longer lonely? When we’ve gone through the pain of being left out, how much happier are we to have a true friend to talk to? Perhaps the dark days and moments in our life are necessary for us to truly be able to appreciate the good times.
We need to give ourselves the chance to feel deeply. We can relish the joys in life. It’s good for us to let our hearts bask for awhile in the times that make us truly happy, excited, or giddy. But it’s also good for us to let our hearts mourn in the times that hurt. We don’t stay there, but we allow ourselves to hurt when we’re struggling. Regardless of what we’re feeling today, we always, always live by the truth, not our feelings. I don’t know about you, but my feelings can change awfully fast, and that’s no way to be lead. Life is hard, friend. Sometimes it stings you to the core, but rejoice knowing that your pain is only seasonal, and someday it will make the good times feel that much sweeter. Fight for joy, sister. Don’t let anything or anyone steal it from you; after all, you deserve it. And that will be where you truly find strength.