Saturday, November 27, 2010

How do I maintain joy in the midst of my heartache?  How do I explain to others why I feel so sad when nothing bad has happened yet?  It's kind of like my children have been diagnosed with a terminal illness.  I know the end might be coming.  I have to grieve that.  There is a chance for a miracle.  I have to believe that.  It's called 'anticipatory grief' according to Google.  Every moment is bittersweet.

So I want to choose joy.  In the midst of it.  I cannot, canNOT live in despair every waking moment.  So I have two challenges this coming Advent season:

1) 50 points of joy:  This comes from a favorite author in our fostering journey, Deborah Gray.  I was reminded of it by a favorite blogger and a precious sister who has personally spoken wisdom into my life, Lisa Qualls.
In her book, Attaching in Adoption, Deborah gives a list of suggestions for weary and worn-out parents - those who are feeling overwhelmed by the needs of their children.  Among those suggestions is this one - 
"When parents have begun to be too worn out, it is often because they have spent so much time doing tasks that they have deleted the fun or enjoyable things in their life.  I like to see parents make a list of fifty items that give them pleasure.  These are individual lists…every week, each person must attain fifty check marks on the list.  Using the same item more than once is permitted."

Fifty items that give me pleasure?  I'm not quite sure I can get there.  But I am determined to live in joy. I deserve no less.  My husband deserves no less.  My children deserve no less.

Here's my beginning:

  • reading a book for pleasure alone
  • listening to music (instead of a podcast or something for 'learning')
  • reading to my children
  • making cookies with one of my children
  • a glass of wine
  • a date with my husband
  • coffee or dinner with a girlfriend
  • an adult dinner with friends.  one without children.
It's gonna be awhile before I can get to 50 listed items, much less 50 accomplished items.  Here goes nothing...

2)  A parenting manifesto of joy.
If you can read just one blog, please don't read mine - read Ann Voskamp.  Every day is an outpouring of grace into your soul.  I have printed this manifesto and placed it on my fridge.  I will choose joy.

I will choose joy.

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