Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Come to Me and Find Joy

Elizabeth Foss has created a place where we can share our Small Steps Together in our journey toward joy. I discovered it this morning on a status update on FB from my friend Darby at Beyond Pearls.

Flu and illness have been our family's constant companion for almost 3 months straight. We are weary, stressed and not always as joy-filled as we should be. I get aggravated at the smallest things and I know that my behavior is the spark that sets the others ablaze with attitude and temper.

Last night, I attended an Evening of Recollection -- a much needed respite from events of the past few weeks. I was present and eager to hear the meditation given by a priest, but I began drifting in an out. The priest was talking -- I heard a few words about marriage and commitment that made me take notice, but then, I was away again. I would try to hang on to the words, the effort was frustrating.

I was being summoned, gently, almost imperceptibly, and then my heart whispered  -- "Close your eyes, still your frantic thoughts, bring the worries and troubles and place them before Me." It was then I let go. My heart needed to rest in the Lord, to just be silent in His presence. My intellect needed a break from the constant barrage of issues and concerns, and my will needed to succumb to His calling me to silence.

Years ago, a friend offered me this advice about the interior life, "Stop steering the boat, let it glide on the current. You don't always have to be in charge." So I would try -- but even in the "trying", I would find myself controlling the effort. That's not to say that we don't have to work at prayer or at reducing the chaos, or at making the time to grow in virtue by spiritual reading and putting it into practice. But, sometimes we just need to BE, need to allow God to carry us forward, and show us where the joy can be found in our daily lives -- in the good times, the drudgery and even in profound sorrow.

I have dealt with much of the stress in my life over the years by putting my head down and plowing through. Nothing was going to get the better of me. In a sense, that is a healthy attitude if its done in the will of God. But commonly we do so because we feel the most safe, the most secure, when we have some control over situations in our lives. God has shown me through the years that it is OK to be a bit vulnerable - to not always show the stoic side, to trust and to accept help. That was, again, one of the reminders in prayer last night  -- He said, as I drifted away from the community of women gathered in the Church, "I'll make it right -- you keep praying and spreading the Gospel." And in that moment, I found and felt joy.

With my plan for life formulated for the new year, I hope to continue to grow in ways that only God knows for me. And on occasion, I will share them here, maybe as often as Elizabeth offers her link -- every Tuesday. Joy is "an expectation or possession of some good", a fruit of Holy Spirit and a moment by moment recognition of God present in our lives. I don't want to miss a single moment.

I hope you will share your moments of joy with me, too. You are such a blessing to me.

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