Have you had the opportunity to meet someone who even though they are going through a difficult struggle in life seems to not only be joyful but shares their joy with others? These people who carry the weight of the world with grace and courage inspire us and make us feel as if the world is a kind and loving place. On the other side of the spectrum, there are those who take their struggles and seem to leak them out on others. The weight they carry is massive, and so they are continually unloading it and often at inappropriate times. We recognize them by their anger, bitterness, and pessimism.
In the previous post I shared with you the poem How Can I? I share these dark moments not to be morose, but to recognize that those moments are authentic and we do best when we can acknowledge and accept them for the gift that they are. Life will throw us curve balls, and sometimes really hard and fast! At that moment when we are afraid, empty and have no answers, we have a great deal of space in our heart, mind, and spirit. We can choose to be active while waiting, filling our time with distractions like television, internet, and projects. Or we can actively wait.
This month a fantastic team will be putting together the finishing touches on The Joy Retreat. There is a great deal of actively waiting involved in the preparation. Actively waiting means just being, being in the place and doing the things that can bring the answers and fill the empty spaces in a healthy and fulfilling way. This means pushing away the habits of instant gratification and embracing the moment between not knowing and knowing. What we do in those moments we are calling the Habits of Joy.
How can we have joy and feel joyful when life is hard and grievous difficulties are close at hand? How can we feel joy when we cannot see the rainbow at the end of the journey? The joy in waiting comes when we are actively practicing the habits of joy.
I believe we all have these habits of joy and we exercise them, though, if you are like me, it is not as often as we should and generally at the last moment when we have just had enough. But the more we exercise these habits, the stronger they become and the joy even in the moments of sorrow can increase.
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. Hebrews 3:13-14 (NIV)
I invite you to take a moment and participate in the Joy Retreat by sharing here…
What do you do when you are actively waiting? What are the habits that spark or restore your joy?
Peace to you all,