Finding joy….

Loss and grief often make you feel as if there is no more joy. Your heart feels leaden, and your mind feels stiff. But someday, joy returns, and it returns in a glorious way… more sharp and clear than joy you have ever felt before.

I read today, on another lovely blog, about fasting before the feast. (I enjoy this blog.. traditions so different from our own, but so lovely and passionate and faithful. Her words really spoke to me today. )There really cannot be a feast unless the fast comes before. And there really cannot be true joy, until you have felt devastating loss.

As I take this Advent journey, I am looking for spots of joy to help me out of my waves of grief. The shiny candlelight on Christmas Eve evoke joy for me. “Joy to the World” ringing loud and clear in church, evokes that kind of joy as well.

With our new home, there have been plenty of moments of joy. We have a new large living area, with no furniture.. which leads the small ones to enjoy  tumbling.. and on a recent evening, even us adults got involved.

This is yours truly, doing her first cart-wheel in years.. probably since I was about 23ish. Yes, my shoulders ached for a few days afterwards, but I was able to feel a girlish joy… a joy at being alive.. a joy at being able bodied. Because I have learned, that is a joy, not just a given. So I reveled in it for a bit.. and then iced the shoulders for a few days.

I am discovering new spots in my home as well that bring me joy and make me happy. They are new spots with old familiar comforts.

Family photos, in new places, with the glass all cleaned and frames dusted bring comfort in this new place.

A new study.. full of old materials, but new to me furniture. A new desk, given to us by a work colleague. My dh painted it fresh and it is a lovely new work surface. Also, a new file cabinet, from a government office, which we bought used. I have replaced most of the labels with mundane things like Taxes, Utility, House payment, Phone Bills… but I left the 2 that said “Official oaths”. You never know when you will need to file away an official oath. That just tickles me so much.. a small ray of sunshine in my heart.

And I love the new wide windowsills.. they are wonderful homes for the many candles made for holidays past, and a great place for forcing winter bulbs.. something that will bring me joy in the cold days of winter. There is nothing so cheery as the small white face and sweet fragrance of the narcissus.

So, Advent Journey – taking steps to find joy this year – in whatever form I can. And yet at the same time appreciating the knowledge that there is a reason to be grateful for grief.. the sadness will intensify the joy, just as a fast will intensify the magnificence of a feast.

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