I have a very wise friend named Bekah. She is an advocate of not postponing joy, of seeking it in the middle of whatever is going on in our lives. I have been slow to embrace this but today I turned my face toward the sun. This is after one of the hardest days I have had in a very long time after a sleepless night when I was so filled with fear and anxiety I shook uncontrollably most of the day. Finally enough is enough and today, after a decent night’s sleep, I got up determined to turn things around. Bekah is right, you don’t postpone joy.
Today I created two new pages for Pastiche in what will be the last issue, due out September 1. I started knitting again, working on a crazy quilt shawl that I started months ago and put aside to knit a baby blanket for my new grandson who was born May 31. I haven’t knitted at all since I finished the baby blanket and it was something I really needed to be doing. Busy hands help turn the mind over from depression to a kind of ease so necessary to create the fertile ground where joy grows. And today when I was outside with the dogs I photographed the above Hibiscus moschuetos, a stunner with giant blossoms. This year it is all the more precious because before the house went on the market three months ago I had the whole back yard cleaned out. My garden, being mainly in pots, and little glass houses, with garden art everywhere, was all stripped bare so that possible new owners could envision their own landscape. As the months have gone on and gardens everywhere are springing up and blossoming my bare landscape has made me very sad. I have some things planted in the ground but because it was physically easier for me I turned to planting in very large pots and my dozens of clematis, many roses, bulbs and flowers from seed are all gone. This one lone hibiscus, blooming with such wild abandon, made my heart soar. Even in a barren landscape there is joy to be found. I am sharing it here so I don’t forget.
I am not out of the woods. We are at a juncture where the house is still on the market but we are investigating a possibility that could keep me in the house. I am so hoping this can come to pass. It is this uncertainty that yesterday had me so unglued I couldn’t get my bearings and my whole system went haywire until it just broke down. But the thing is that no matter what happens in the end I still have to live my life day by day, through whatever comes, and afterward, and living frozen waiting for some kind of resolution before I embrace joy and the good things in life is no way to live and leads to frequent breakdowns and bumps in the road. Enough is enough.
I’m taking a deep breath and looking out over the vast expanse of years in my life ahead. We none of us know how long we have, nor do we have any control over that, but we do have control over how we live day by day. For a very long time I have been living so afraid that it wasn’t really living at all. I have to remind myself that this is a choice, that each day as it comes is a gift to unwrap and can be approached however I choose. The uncertainty is hard for anyone but uncertainty met with the steely grip of fear is crippling, and with an open heart one might be able to breathe and live their way through it one moment at a time. I am going to try to choose the latter.
The hibiscus is a wonderful teacher. Each blossom only lasts a day and then it is gone. There are many blossoms waiting to open and as they unfurl their amazing color and beauty seem to know no bounds. They put on a show for all they are worth not worrying that by nightfall they will close and droop and fall making way for a seedpod that will hold the promise of many more flowers to come. Each blossom has but one day and it opens come what may. Life is like that. Each day comes and goes in 24 hours and on any given day we have the possibility of hours of joy no matter what else may be happening. I have to remember to look for that joy and hold fast to it and live the rest with as much courage and fortitude as I can.
My friend Bekah is right. You can’t postpone joy, you can’t postpone life, it will come, come what may. Like the hibiscus I will try to bring all the beauty and love and heart that I have to bear on any given day, and breathe my way through the hard times. Easier said than done, I know, but a practice worth having. I am going to try my best.