Here we are again. . . At the beginning of a new year. I have had many different resolutions in years past, but this year I have really thought about what I want to have my goal be for 2016. I am going to FIND JOY IN MY JOURNEY.
My life is so different than it has ever been. This year, I am a single mother to a busy preschooler and rambunctious toddler. My experiences have driven me to be more spiritual than I have ever been. Because of that, I feel confident in who I am, where I am going, and what I want to become. I know that this phase in my life will change; I could either lose these feelings or they could get stronger. There is one thing in this life that is certain…. CHANGE.
I have been listening to message by the president of my church, Thomas S. Monson who recently lost his wife. In it he talks about how to find the Joy in the Journey, and he talks of change:
“Throughout our lives, we must deal with change. Some changes are welcome; some are not. There are changes in our lives which are sudden, such as the unexpected passing of a loved one, an unforeseen illness, the loss of a possession we treasure. But most of the changes take place subtly and slowly…. Day by day, minute by minute, second by second we went from where we were to where we are now. The lives of all of us, of course, go through similar alterations and changes. The difference between the changes in my life and the changes in yours is only in the details. Time never stands still; it must steadily march on, and with the marching come the changes.”
“Time never stands still…” How true this is. We have had a lot of change over this last year, and I have really wanted time to stand still numerous times. President Monson mentions because time is moving on so rapidly we must LIVE FOR TODAY. With all the change and emotions that I have had this year, it has been hard to find JOY in my living.
But what is joy? A feeling of great pleasure? There is a difference between Joy and pleasure. Joy I believe has a spiritual component; it swells within you, you feel happy, glad, elated, and pleased all at once. Joy lasts even in dark times. In fact, it is because of joy that we can see the bright side of a situation despite the darkness around us, and it is because of that darkness, that we come to truly understand and find the joy.
It wasn’t until a couple months ago that I realized I needed to make it my mission to find joy. I was doing everything I felt the Lord was wanting me to do, listening to promptings, praying, reading my scriptures…. But I realized I wasn’t enJOYing my life or my kids.
I don’t know if I would have realized how much I was missing joy until I lost my husband. Sometimes, it is easy to get distracted in life and miss the joy. However, my loss allowed me to clearly see what I was missing, and gave me an incentive to seek out opportunities to find my own joy in this journey.
In order to receive joy, we must give it. As we serve others we can receive it.
“Send that note to the friend you’ve been neglecting; give your child a hug; give your parents a hug; say “I love you” more; always express your thanks. Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved. Friends move away, children grow up, loved ones pass on. It’s so easy to take others for granted, until that day when they’re gone from our lives and we are left with feelings of “what if” and “if only.” Said author Harriet Beecher Stowe, “The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.” – Thomas Monson
I know when I find opportunities to serve, or tell others I love them, it mends a little piece of my broken heart. I have been blessed abundantly because of my service to others during my journey as a widow. It is not easy, especially when you are hurting badly, but reaching out and doing something simple, such as paying for someone’s $1 toll, donating socks to homeless shelters, shoveling a neighbor’s walk, baking cookies, or just a SMILE to someone who needs a happy glance on a bad day can go a long way. There are so many things we can do to find joy and give it.
I am actually excited for a new year, a new chance to make a difference. Because of my faith, and my testimony, the Lord has blessed me abundantly. I serve better, I love stronger, I endure more faithfully. I have hope that this year will be a great one, and even it turns out to not be, I can look back on it and say that I have fully felt joy. 2016 will be filled with new people and new opportunities to help me find the Joy in my Journey….