When I found myself divorced, I became very depressed. I honestly believed God had forgotten me and that I’d never find joy in my life again. I was unemployed for 4.5 years. I was living off of a rapidly dwindling 401k. And while countless people offered advice on finding a job, no matter what type of job I applied for, I wouldn’t get any response. And trust me I tried the most basic, hourly wage jobs to things for which I’d be better suited. Nothing.
I decided I needed to move closer to my eldest daughter because she lived in a very affordable city. Depression came with me and so did the tears. I really didn’t see a way out of my situation beyond moving in with my daughter or mother. And then a miracle happened.
My daughter was working as a nanny, part-time and her employers needed someone for the two extra days. I jumped at the chance because the small amount of money, would help me stay afloat. I had no idea I was about to fall in love.
From day one of caring for APL, my depression began to lift. It wasn’t so heavy. There was sunshine instead of dark clouds. Several months after starting, my daughter left to have my first grandson and chose not to return to work. So now I was the full-time care provider for this sweet boy.
I tell him God knew I needed him and sent me to this town so I could take care of him. He was 16 months old when I began and soon will be 6 and heading to first grade. Just like with my own kids, the time has flown.
While from time to time, my depression returns, it leaves quickly and is never as severe. Two more children have been added to my employer’s family and with it more joy.
I should have trusted God. He knew what he was doing the entire time.
Why am I telling this story? It’s simple. There are so many simple ways to find joy. I know when you are down, it can seem to be a monumental task to even start the littlest project. I just hope you find some inspiration here so you aren’t stuck (Like I was) in a dark place.
I have so much fun spending time with a toddler. When I was a young mother, I didn’t have as much patience as I do now. And anyone who has spent time with a toddler knows patience is key to success.
When my girls were young, I always enjoyed doing fun projects with them. And when we had many rainy days recently, I knew I needed to come up with something to make waking up in the morning an exciting activity for a two-year old. I had no idea how successful this little project would be.
Taking lima beans, the kind you buy dried at the grocery store, and placing them between wet paper towels, my little guy and I, placed them in ziploc bags and put them in a dark place. Within the next week or so, the beans sprouted roots. Our next step was to plant the seeds into tiny pots.
My guy’s job was to water them everyday. It was always the first thing he wanted to do. And when they spouted above the soil, there was so much excitement in the house. Now it is time to replant them into a large pot and have them climb a tomato cage.
And as the plants grow towards the son, you too can find the light in your life.
I received some exciting news a couple months ago. I am going to become a grandma for the first time. Needless to say, I cried tears of joy.
Before modern science, the miracle was secret. Babies were hidden in their mothers’ wombs. Now we have the incredible privilege of watching the miracle unfold. And I feel so blessed to be able to be part of this child’s life.
As we celebrate the coming of our savior in the form of a baby, it’s a reminder miracles still happen each and every day. I wish each and everyone a Merry Christmas.
**Please refrain from making pro-life vs pro-choice statements. I don’t want this to become a heated forum. I am only writing about my personal joy.
An impediment to moving forward. Why do I feel it’s not possible to be happy and relaxed? Is it because I believe I don’t deserve to be happy? Am I not worthy of happiness? Is it I don’t know what happiness is so I don’t recognize it? I know I’ve felt and experienced happiness before but now, for the past several years beginning in 2009, my ability to be happy has eluded me.
I see other people. I can feel their joy. I can sense their satisfaction with life. They are relaxed and have fun. I feel wound up so tightly that it’s impossible to move for fear I’ll break or snap.
Is there a secret? A secret to letting go of the worry, always worried what people think of me? A secret to just enjoy the moment? I know I’ve missed so much since 2009. Time we can never reclaim. I don’t want to waste anymore moments which could possible hold joy and happiness.
My life has changed in major ways in the last 10 years. I became an empty nester, a mother-in-law, and a divorcée. I’ve been a hospital patient, a surgical patient and have become a woman whose childbearing days are over. I’ve moved six times and filled out thousands of job applications. I’ve lost my father, watched a family member fight a rare type of cancer twice and win and I have learned someone else I love is fighting cancer. I’ve fought depression at every turn. I’ve seen my daughters’ father and his family treat them as though they never existed and I’ve watched them persevere through it becoming better women because of it. It has been a crazy and an emotionally and physically challenging 10 years. I’ve experienced some highs, my daughter’s marriage, my youngest college graduation, my oldest getting a master degree. I watched my son-in-law take the Hippocratic oath and become a doctor. I saw my youngest brave a year living abroad. I’ve also experienced the worst years of my life in the last ten years.
They say nothing in life is guaranteed. I’d disagree. You can always be guaranteed life will not stay the same. There will be periods of highs and lows with lots of nothing much happening times. I know I am ready for a change in my life. It’s as though I can feel it coming. I just pray it’s a change for the good.
“We envy a man for something he has and yet the truth may be he hasn’t got it after all and we have.” Francis Poldark PBS
We live in a world where the message is what you have isn’t enough. We are taught we need to be ambitious, make more money, attain a higher status, just get more. But does stuff and more money make us happy? Does it make us envy our friends and neighbors more or less? Do we ever reach a point when we’ve reached the pinnacle of success and feel satisfied or are we on some endless road?
I think the character Francis Poldark from the Winston Graham book series Poldark’s worcs ring just as true now as when Mr. Graham wrote them and also when Francis was supposed to have said them in the late 1700s. People don’t change. Status whether it’s brought by money, a beautiful wife, a big house or a successful business is a temporary fix for what we all desire on a deeper level.
Things are temporary. Jobs are temporary. Relationships can be shallow. Money comes and goes. But what if while we are so busy acquiring and envying others we miss the joy we already have in our lives? Studies have proven money doesn’t make us happy. It makes us comfortable and offers security on one level. I understand how devastating it can be to lose financial security. I’ve lost all the financial security I had when I divorced. I understand how devastating job loss and loss of a relationship can be. I was married for 30 years only to be tossed aside. It hurt. It still does. I see my friends’ lives and the security they still have. I feel envious. I feel cheated. I feel angry that my ex could discard me and our daughters like yesterday’s trash.
But what I’ve realized is that if I spend my time envying the life I had, the lives of my friends then I cheat myself out of recognizing the blessings and joys that I have in my life now. I have close and loving relationships with my daughters and son-in-law. I’ve learned who my true friends are and that the appearance of happiness doesn’t mean they are happy. I have peace of mind. I no longer wonder in what new way my ex husband was going to betray me and hurt me. I’ve learned I’m strong.