Joy in the Time of Covid

Yes, I am plagiarizing the title a bit.  Shamelessly.

Those who know me personally are aware that my life over the past several years has been anything but smooth.  A knee injury that lead to disability, the deaths of my mother and son, husband’s non-fatal heart attack; all stacked up to leave me with a pretty heavy load.

Due to anniversary dates, summers are particularly difficult so this spring I decided to seek in-person counselling again to help me through it.  It was good timing to get ahead of the curve and has helped me stay centered at a time when the world is in a general uproar, for several reasons.

In spite of and perhaps even due to the traumas my body and emotions have suffered over the last five years, I’m finding joy.  I am at peace and have so much contentment and am more centered than I have ever felt before in my life.

There is no single reason that I can point to, no formula, except my relationship with God.  Over the years, that relationship has deepened gradually but the more my life has fallen apart in recent years, the more I rely on Him.  I have stopped holding onto things that I can’t do anything about anyway.  I have offered up those things that I can’t – or don’t want to – look at again.

We all have those.  I have behaved badly over the years and want to forget about events, so I boxed them up and put them away in the closet of my mind.  I have been hurt, sometimes physically and sometimes emotionally, and those hurts have been boxed up and shoved in the closet, too.  I feel anger and disgust for those who hurt me.  Guess what?  Those “bad” feelings got boxed up and closeted, as well.

Over time, all those painful, hurt-filled boxes became walled off, the cardboard turning to calcifications with rough edges that would scrape and hurt again if I brushed up against them, like a stuccoed wall.  Through years and counselling, prayer and confrontation, most of those calcifications have had their edges smoothed out or even broken through.  Like breaching an abscess and clearing out the mess, they have left their mark on my heart but are no longer able to hurt.

Some, though, still remain.  If anything, they have shrunk down and gotten harder.  Not usually painful unless my thought muscles clench around them.  Over this season of my renewal, I have frequently prayed to let those hard bits go.  For God to work in me through His Holy Spirit to break them up and loosen their clutch on my heart.

It has been a journey that I would be challenged to map out, but it has taken my lifetime.  Not one day has passed that I have been truly alone – God called me, and He is still working on me.  There are still those painful bits, but they don’t concern me as they used to.  I am freed of the hold they had on me.  I am freer than I ever have been in my life before and feel as though each day is an adventure and I’m excited to be on the ride.

I don’t have a formula for anyone else.  No magic prayer, no single Scripture, no sermon, no rules for repeating the process.  I know that this joy-filled, peace-centered time is a season.  That there will be storms ahead, just as there are storms behind and even all around me.  But for now, I am centered.  Perhaps I am the eye of the storm.  For myself at least.

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