A friend of mine said once. "You have to let the pain wash over you and then when you are ready, you will move away from it." That made a lot of sense to me because I strive to understand emotional pain and why it affects me so deeply and so personally for such a long time. Yet, there is sense of joy that will overtake the pain if I allow it to.
This is a devotional by Rick Warren. I just had to share this so I copied the parts that put words around what I have been struggling to express.
"My problem was my definition of joy. I thought joy meant feeling good all the time. That’s impossible! Even for those who are naturally upbeat and optimistic, that’s impossible. We have to start somewhere more realistic — and close to Scripture.
So here’s the definition I’ve come up with from studying Scripture:
Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.
You’ll find nothing in that definition about happy feelings, because, as we all know, happiness is fleeting and temporary.
We tend to think that life comes in hills and valleys. In reality, it’s much more like train tracks.
(Here's the part I like.)
Every day of your life, wonderful, good things happen that bring pleasure and contentment and beauty to you. At the exact same time, painful things happen to you or those you love that disappoint you, hurt you, and fill you with sorrow. These two tracks — both joy and sorrow — run parallel to each other every single moment of your life.That’s why, when you’re in the midst of an amazing experience, you have a nagging realization that it’s not perfect. And while you’re experiencing something painful, there’s the glorious realization that there is still beauty and loveliness to be found. They’re inseparable.
If you look down train tracks into the brightness of the horizon, the tracks become one. You can’t distinguish them as two separate tracks. That’s how it will be for us, too. One day, our parallel tracks of joy and sorrow will merge into one. The day we meet Jesus Christ in person and see the brightness of who he is, it will all come together for us. Then it will all make complete sense."
There are days when life does makes sense...like the day my new grandson was born 5 weeks prematurely and my prayers given up with fear and panic for all those months were radically, graciously answered with a resounding "yes". Despite all the warnings from the specialists, he was perfectly normal, breathing on his own, crying and a full pound heavier than they anticipated. I can't even begin to describe the joy and relief I felt at the moment the nurse came out with what I would call miraculously good news. I thought I might just burst.
Not every day is that emotionally charged but I have to focus on the idea that there is joy to be experienced in each day. I admit being sensitive, easily hurt and overly aware and honestly, there are few who truly get that. My artist's soul needs "something beautiful to touch me"...yes, pretty much every day. This beauty comes in many forms like music, art and contact with friends and loved ones. But, topping the list is the Savior I have, the God who answers prayer. That should be enough to turn a frown upside down....every time, every day.
I'm working on that