The picture says it all…I was happy in the moment with my granddaughter celebrating her three-year-old birthday sitting beside me and my new one-week-old baby grand-niece in my arm on Easter Sunday. It was a beautiful day filled with joy at our house, celebrating with my sister’s family, my son’s family and some of our own family having fun with the traditional ham dinner, Easter egg hunts, dying eggs, the “picking eggs” game and more. I was a little anxious at first but ultimately happy to host Easter at our house for the first time. Yes, we missed those who couldn’t make it, and yes it was a lot of work (my husband was a huge help), but I was overjoyed at how the day turned out. And now the morning after I feel like a balloon punctured, back to work, thinking about things that could have gone a little better…and although I know those thoughts don’t lead anywhere good, sometimes I get mired in them. And then, poof, there goes my joy! Out the window. So how do I fight to get my joy back, or more importantly, how do I fight to keep it? How do I resist this emotional “hangover?” I think the answer lies in fighting back, or resisting the bad habits and thoughts that creep in…wanting to crawl back in bed (which would make me ultimately feel guilty I wasted time getting nothing accomplished)…wanting to have more fun instead of go back to work (which pays the bills so we can have more fun and not feel guilty about it)…wishing for things to come or worse, wishing things had been a little different (instead of being grateful for all of the good).
If any of you were fortunate to view the “Best Lent Ever” program with Matthew Kelly of Dynamic Catholic, you would know that we actually have to “slay” resistance every day, sometimes multiple times a day, in order to have true happiness and be open to moments of joy. But first we have to know what makes us happy. Of course being with family, especially my granddaughter, makes me happy…but I can’t have that every day, it can’t be Easter Sunday every day. Today is Monday and it’s cloudy and rainy and back to reality. So how do we sustain happiness? Like Matthew Kelly, I usually can have a reasonably happy day if I spend a little time with God, (praying, reading something inspirational/spiritual, etc.), exercising, getting some writing or work done, and if the opportunity presents itself, being of service to others. Just writing these words lifts me out of that “day after” blues because I know I have been through this battle before, and I can win it if I take one step at a time and stay in the present…and focus on the good and let the rest go.
So I’ll end with this Bible quote from today’s Mass reading: “But God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death, because it was impossible for him to be held by it. For David says of him: ‘I saw the Lord ever before me, with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed. Therefore my heart has been glad and my tongue has exulted; my flesh, too, will dwell in hope…You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence’…God raised this Jesus…(and) He poured forth the promise of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:14 22-33) Don’t worry, be happy, He has risen!
And if you missed it, here’s the whole Dynamic Catholic “Best Lent Ever” series: http://dynamiccatholic.com/bestlentever/category/lent-reflections-2017/