I went to McDonald's today. I had been on a four mile walk with the dogs and the park bathrooms were closed for winter maintenance. I thought I would die before I found a bathroom. Just as I got to the door to the restaurant, a very large older man held the door for me. He asked how I was and I said," fine and you?" through gritted teeth, feeling as though my bladder might burst at any moment. He stops, looks me directly in the eye and says, "I am blessed."
His matter of fact statement surprised me and snapped me out of my selfish little snit over a bathroom. I said, "then you are more than fine." And, so am I.
I wonder why we want more, when we have plenty and we want less and appreciate more when we have less? It logically seems that it should be the other way around. But, it takes a stripping down to really discover who we are. Some might think that a fancy sports car defines their personality. Some think that power or position define them. Others might think that their failings define them. So, with less clutter, it is easier to get to know who God intended you to be.
This revelation is yet another gift our family has received as the result of our son's addiction. Steps one through three in AA and Al anon, help us to see that God is in charge. We are to look for his will in all that we do. I learned that I had to look inward. I had to not only take an inventory of the things I'd done wrong, I had to start to figure out what brought me joy.
When you are a wife and mother and employee, it is easy to learn what your husband, kids and fellow employees want. Trying to do what needs doing, usually takes precedent over anything you might have wanted to do. Before long, you forget about having that joy all together. This not only robs you of the gifts God has given, it robs your family of those gifts. The meaning of taking care of family is a world view definition more than a spiritual one. I think it is time to re-examine those ideas.
I have a close family member who has children who suffer from a chronic disease. She dove into their care as any Mom would. But, somewhere along the way, she lost herself. It happens little by little. I remembered how truly smart she was from our days growing up. I don't think she did. I think she was beginning to doubt herself. Recently, as with many of us in the middle/late part of our lives, she felt the pull for more. Like employees who have spent their entire adult lives at one position, it is hard to see outside that box. It's hard to know where to start.
This is where we start paying attention. What makes you happy? What makes you excited? What comes naturally? What gives you anxiety? There has to be this time in prayer and attention to "get to know" this adult self.
The addicts in our lives didn't do this. They used a substance to alleviate stress. They were too afraid to look inward to find joy. Maybe they defined joy as the world would and that was just too empty. We must all look inward to find what God put us here to accomplish. Then, we will find joy.
My family member is finding her voice. It is thrilling to watch. She seems shocked and amazed at what she is able to accomplish. I'm not surprised at all. But it's so fun to watch her find this joy. I can't wait to see what God helps her to accomplish. I know it will be great.
Today, my prayers are for all readers to allow God to direct their lives. I pray for the addict, the addicts family and those who suffer for any reason. I pray that you find your inner joy. I pray that you use it to give back. And, I also send a prayer for Henry.