Monday, April 02, 2007

Happiness

You know, I was about to write something else - my response to Trueself's interview questions for me. They are good questions and I will answer them.

But instead, I just want to mark a realization that surprised me the other day. I was thinking about all our issues - my Big Dude's health, our sex life (no sex at all in the last month), my job, my back, our finances, and all the other issues that have been worrying me. Added to that, my dear friend Judy is leaving town and is unlikely to return. My main source of real-life support and friendship is leaving me. But the other day I realized that, while I am still at some level worried about these things, the fact remains that I have been remarkably happy lately.

These issues, which are still problems to be addressed, don't seem to outweigh a kind of underlying happiness and contentment. And, while factors like counselling and the unclear-whether-it's continuing improvement in our sex life last month and moving to our new house have helped, I think the reason lies mainly in the spiritual side of my life.

I still have all the same doubts and questions about God. I am still suspicious and guarded about organised religion, even though I am attending a church. You want to know what I have been reading lately? Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion. Not exactly calculated to increase faith. In that sense, nothing has really changed.

But something seems to have happened to me. I did ask God, in the words of Don McLean, to cast the darkness from my soul. And somehow, this seems to have occurred. I still have times of frustration and fear and gloom, but they seem to appear and then fade out again rather than taking up full residence in my mind and heart and consuming all the good feelings.

I felt like I was struggling under a weight I couldn't lift. I would get up, but I couldn't stay up. And now, I just seem to be travelling more lightly.

I feel more grateful. I see the problems, but I also see the value of what I have. I love my Big Dude. I know he loves me. I have the joy of watching my Little Dude grow - a joy I came so close to missing. I have friends and a mother who care for me. While we have plenty of finacial difficulties, I have no real material needs that can't be met. Instead of focusing on all the things that other people have that I don't, I notice that many of them are wading through at least as much shit as I do.

I don't know how long this state will last - but I feel blessed.

And I have this other thought.

I am not sure that I could have got here if I hadn't struggled through that dark time. If I had run away, if I had tried to avoid the suffering by immersing myself in alcohol or sex as I have in the past, if I had refused to carry it, I think it would have got me. Somehow, turning to face the pain, looking at it dead on, seems to have lessened its power over me. The pain could determine how I felt, but it couldn't determine what I did. In that sense, I might have felt trapped, but actually I was free. Free to be more than just a collection of impulses to avoid pain and seek pleasure. Free to determine who I am and what I become.

It's like I turned to face the Medusa and, instead of it turning me into stone, I opened my heart and it become soft, tender, living flesh. I feel alive.

6 Comments:

Blogger oldbear said...

HI lady, i ma glad for you, if you can even articulate taht you are not wanting materially, you are blessed beyond about 90 to 95 percent of our fellow humans!

AND you have MOM around!

I wish fo ryou that Judy wasnt leaving, and you had moe sex, but all in all I just wish you can always see the happiness is there waiting to be discerned, appreciateed, and lived.

PAX to you, and both teh dueds, and Mom!

7:01 PM  
Blogger XI Summit said...

What a challenging and uplifting message.

10:00 AM  
Blogger Christian Husband said...

Good post. And I am praying for you and your journey.

Interestingly enough, before I found this post of yours today I posted something on my site about happiness and spirituality. It's probably only tangentially related to this, but close enough to make for interesting parallels.

Peace be with you.

3:57 PM  
Blogger kissmekate said...

Once again Emily you have written a post that is making me think about my life.

Thank you!

And may you continue to feel blessed and at peace.

6:25 AM  
Blogger LBP said...

Wow. Once again, Emily goes for the Post of the Year award.

Cool. Very cool.

7:05 AM  
Blogger flutterby said...

Emily,

I'm really happy for your happiness.

You wanna pass some of that around, please?

...please?

:D

Really, keep it up, hon. May things only get better.

8:37 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home