I was inspired this morning before going to my Yoga class, by this verse in Proverbs. "Every day is a terrible day for a miserable person, but a cheerful heart has a continual feast."(Proverbs 15:15)
I'd like to think that after living out seven years of Recovery, my heart has a continual feast and that I don't have any more sad days. -But do I really? Of course not! Life still happens to all of us, and I think, despite our efforts, we still have both. What about you? -What kind of days do you usually have?
I would have to say, my days are mostly happy, but some days still have sadness in them. After all, I live in the real world. I love fall and how the colors spread so gorgeously on the trees at home. What a spectacular view I have from my bedroom window! Yet, it will be 20 years this Halloween, I lost my sister Cindy. How I miss her life! I still love how we can be outside, walking our dogs, and enjoying some cooler days with my family. Yet November 4th, it will be another year I've spent without my best friend, Esther. I still miss her today. I wish we had one more day to share together!
So isn't this what life is really like? Happiness and sadness live side by side. They're part of the same package. I guess someone who only sees sadness, might not have been trained to look for the good in the world and in people. Someone who solely focuses on the good, might be in denial of the real sadness there still is in the world and in people... I believe acknowledging both can help. They each have a valid space. I think this awareness creates balance in our life. We're in a continual learning process from both experiences, I guess.
I like to think that I've learned enough coping skills to get me through the difficult times. To challenge my negative thoughts in a way that they still have the potential to be positive. I use that constantly. It's called CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.) But in spite of my efforts, still, my humanness remains intact. I still feel the sadness that some terminal situations evoke.
-But can I tell you? There's much more to be happy about than to be sad about if we really consider our life. Having our family, someone to love, calling somebody a friend, having our basic needs met, and knowing we still have a chance to hope for the good; is what keeps our faith. I'm so grateful for this in my life.
I love what Kristin Hannah wrote: "And maybe that was how it was supposed to be... Joy and sadness were part of the package: the trick, perhaps, was to let yourself feel all of it, but to hold on to the Joy just a little more tightly..."
I will always cherish the memories and honor the loved ones I've lost. I'm learning that sadness and joy come in the same package. Yet, for as long as I'm breathing, I will try to live my life with joy and purpose.
-What about you?
Maria A. Mansfield, PRS
Author: "Life is Worth Getting Better" & "Honoring Your Recovery"