25 Feb Finding My Joy
by Denise Caudill Irons, NHI Board Member
Because I have not felt inspired the past few months, I have not attempted to contribute an article. I have been mindlessly struggling with the endless routine of daily life. Nothing exceptional has occurred, and it’s been disheartening. Recently, my daughter and I visited her honorary grandparents in Florida. During our stay, Mims came across this poem by William Martin, and she reminded me of it. I read it years ago, but it was long forgotten. As I needed the reminder, it appeared again. However, it wasn’t for my daughter, but for me.
I constantly strive to be an exceptional mom – worrying, fussing, doing; and yet, never satisfied that it is enough. Always falling short has impacted my self-esteem, but it has also robbed me of my joy. I may accept and teach my daughter to cherish the ordinary, but I forget to do the same. This poem reminded me that I need to enjoy the ordinary too. I am sure that my daughter intuitively feels that my actions and words do not always match my emotions, and it is probably very confusing for her.
Just as certain things do not come naturally for my daughter, I am realizing that cultivating my personal joy does not come naturally for me. A friend of mine recently went on vacation. Her texts and photos of the trip were so saturated with joy that I could feel her enthusiasm come through the phone. I could not remember the last time I felt that kind of sustained emotion. I am thrilled and happy for many things at different times, but it is usually for others and not for me.
I did not make any resolutions at the New Year, but I need one now. I need to practice finding personal joy. It is more than being present and grateful. I need to fill my heart and soul with happiness that is solely for my benefit. As I write this, it sounds so selfish. I find it extremely difficult to put my needs before anyone else’s. However, I am noticing more that I feel depleted and less energetic. As difficult as it will be for me, striving for joy rather extraordinariness is at least attainable; and I feel ready for the challenge.