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Discovering Joy Inspite of Myself

I discovered joy in the most unlikely place, in the midst of suffering.

Living in poverty, united with a husband struggling with clinical depression and surrounded by the clamour and demands of nine children, I was stretched to my limits of endurance. Lack of sleep was part of the reason that most of my inner walls of defense crumbled and hidden, inner demons tormented my dreams. I felt my emotional pain physically, as though a dagger had pierced my heart.

It was easy to picture myself as a victim.

It was easy to let go of my innate optimism and sink into moments of self-pity.

Yet, I did not want mere happiness. I knew that there is a world of difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is dependant on circumstances but I knew that it is possible to dwell in joy, even in the most dire of circumstances. To me happiness is a fickle, surface emotion that is fleeting at best, impossible to even touch when I am surrounded by difficulties. Yet it was precisely a life filled with difficulties and yes, I could even say suffering, which stripped away my inner stumbling blocks to joy.

It was a Catholic psychiatrist who taught me how to access the joy that is rooted deep within all of us, the joy that is ready to bubble up, instantaneously, if only we take a moment to connect with it. I learned that I can choose to live in my thoughts and my surface emotions which are dependant on what I am doing or seeing at that precise moment. However, if I take off my dung coloured glasses and look at reality, I can be grateful and somewhat happy and content. This is Cognitive Therapy which basically says that thoughts proceed emotions.

However, if I delve deeper, often my wounded self rises up and once again I can plunge into pain again.d4cd55c5067ea1fcac882af3c57da4d4

At the snap of my fingers, I can look even deeper,

deeper than my thoughts,

deeper than my emotions,

deeper than my wounds and

touch my inner spirit,

my core self,

the self that is united to the eternal God.

Immediately joy, pure bliss bubbles up and I can laugh, even as tears dry on my face.

Why?

My spirit is made up of the very same stuff that God is made up of, so when I open my spirit to him, his joy and life and strength immediately flows into me. I am grateful simply to be alive.

I do not have to be perfect.

I do not earn this joy.

All that is needed is the humility to realize that I cannot survive on my own strength and then ask for his strength and his life giving joy.

Finding joy, living in grateful joy is as easy and as difficult as that.

About melanie jean juneau

Melanie Jean Juneau serves as the Editor in Chief of Catholic Stand. She is a mother of nine children who has edited her kid's university term papers for over a decade. She blogs at joy of nine9 and mother of nine9. Her writing is humorous and heart warming; thoughtful and thought-provoking. Part of her call and her witness is to write the truth about children, family, marriage and the sacredness of life. Melanie is the administrator of ACWB, a columnist at CatholicLane, CatholicStand, Catholic365 , CAPC, author of Echoes of the Divine and Oopsy Daisy, and coauthor of Love Rebel: Reclaiming Motherhood.

5 comments on “Discovering Joy Inspite of Myself

  1. Wonderfully said. Weird, a Catholic counselor and cognitive therapy saved me about 35 years ago…helped me find a way to let go of an abusive husband for the last time. I have no religion, but your words are still very inspirational.
    Patti, 3 of 7 children, so I understand the chaos 🙂

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