Finding Joy

“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.” –Kahil Gibran, The Prophet

Ahhhh….the elementary school Christmas party. I drive into the parking lot and it’s so full I have to park on the sidewalk. I stand in sign-in line with all the other parents who have promised their little that they would come and celebrate. As I walk in I immediately smell the sugar floating in the room, and I’m almost electrocuted by the energy that twenty 6-year-olds can contain. It’s a great party of chaos, but after about 15 minutes my son and I are ready to go. We wanna get outta here, and start Christmas break!!

We sneak out and race to the car. Last one there loses a Christmas present!! I make sure I get there first! Yes, I’m that mom. I’m hoping that I can get home before my bigs come walk in. They had their last exam today, and I’m anxious to hear all about it.

When I come home, they are already there. My daughter is in total melt down (imagine 16 year old drama….it’s not pretty) because her Algebra exam wasn’t all that she’d thought it would be. She’s talking a million words a minute, and I’m just trying to keep up. I didn’t know lips could move that fast. What do you mean?? Can you retake it?? How does this affect your GPA?? These are the questions that are trying to come out of my mouth, but she doesn’t take a long enough breath to let me find time to squeeze in. Then, my 2 sons are in an argument on which TV show to watch. I mean, really?? And when my youngest argues, the tone is like fingernails on a chalkboard…y’all know what I mean.

During all of this, I get a phone call. I know who it is even though I don’t have the contact saved in my phone. It’s the doctor’s office with some test results. I try to find the pause button on my daughter, but it doesn’t seem to work. However, I’ve got to answer this phone call. I answer it in this “Yes, we are all calm over here” voice. The nurse tells me what I don’t want to hear. More tests….what the what?!? I try not to sound concerned or worried on the phone. “I’m a mature adult,” I tell myself. I can do this.

I hang up the phone and all I want to do is take 10 minutes to myself. I want to cry. I feel it in my throat. My tears are welling up. But, I’ve got all three children talking to me at the same time. My husband is out of town, and I just want to freeze life and allow my thoughts to catch up. Speaking of freezing life, we all notice how cold it is. Yes, oh yes. The heat is out, too. You can’t make this stuff up. I feel like I need to take up a nervous habit. You know, like biting my nails, twisting my hair around my finger or chewing my lip…just to cope. Its better than taking up drinking!

I try to band aid the situations as best as I can, and I cleverly tip toe up the stairs, go into my room and shut the door. I need quiet. I need time with me. But, in reality, I need time with Jesus. I know the time will be short before one of them notices that I’m not in the same room, and begin to hunt me down. But I’ll take what I can get.

I’m anxious about all that happened. I’m riddled with nerves about my talk with the nurse. I’m so tired of doctors and tests at this point. I just let it all out. The tears start coming, and I can’t stop it. The levee broke. I bury my head in my pillow and just allow all the emotion to spill out. The worst part is that I’m a totally ugly crier. My eyes get all tiny and I swear I think my nose grows. However, I’m all red and blotchy for the rest of the day when I cry like that. There is no hiding it.

With it being Christmas and all, my thoughts began to wander towards Mary. Y’all know that Christmas song, Mary Did You Know? I really love that song. But, I think Mary totally knew. You know, I’m sure the whole visit from the angel and Immaculate Conception gave her some pretty big clues. But, I started thinking about her relationship with Jesus as a child. How did she mother him and his siblings? Was her house ever like mine? Did she ever lose it? I know Jesus was perfection, but Mary wasn’t. Did her feelings ever become so deep so overwhelming that they came out in her pillow?

I begin to pray to Jesus. I have to talk this over with Him. While I’m in prayer, a question comes to my mind. Shannon, where is your joy? It’s Christmastime. It’s a time when we celebrate the everlasting hope coming into the world. It’s a time when we reflect on the baby king born to a virgin in a barn surrounded by animals, but also by God. If I am truly to believe in my Savior that was born to die for me, than I have to make the choice to believe. I have to believe it in all circumstances, not just when the days are easy. But, when the days are hard….especially when the days are hard. I either have faith or don’t. There is not in-between here. If I am going to overcome my circumstances, I have to remember that my circumstances don’t create joy. I have my Jesus who gives me joy despite my circumstances. His power is there; all I have to do it receive it.

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18




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