Updated: Oct 28
let us be glad and rejoice in it. Psalm 118:24
Can this be correct? Are we really called to rejoice and be glad in EVERY day? Even the tough ones? Even when we have Covid-19 or some other malady? When we suffer losses or disappointments or other difficulties? If we take Jesus’ message seriously, the answer is “Yes.” The “how,” of course, is one of those great mysteries of life.
Over the years I have found joy to come from a lovely combination of gift from God and my own attitude. While I firmly believe all joy comes from God, I have seen how we often refuse to receive that gift. We all know people who seem to always be happy – and also those who always seems to focus on what’s wrong. We call them “glass half full” vs. “glass half empty” people. The “half full” people take delight in the small things, the “half empty” people dwell on anything that is not quite perfect. This certainly speaks to the attitude part of joy – and the openness to receive the gift of joy in this not so perfect world.
I had the opportunity to live this out for the past two weeks. I just finished my first bout of Covid 19 – finally testing negative today! When my symptoms first started 13 days ago, and I tested positive, I was stopped in my tracks. I was frightened and I felt terrible. I was so tired I couldn’t stay awake and I couldn’t think straight. I struggled in this aloneness and fear for a few hours until I was able to reach out for help. And then miraculously, the gift of joy was mine again.
My sister talked me through my next steps, I reached out to neighbors and friends who brought me popsicles, saltines, ice cream, and more substantial groceries as time went on. I rescheduled appointments and settled into a week of rest that turned out to be exactly what I needed. I was keenly aware of the amazing gifts of family and friends, and even my dog, who was my constant companion throughout this time. I was nourished by attending Mass on line and having the Eucharist brought to my home by friends.
As odd as this may sound, I was joyful during this time – perhaps not happy and having a lot of fun – but that deeper feeling of trust, gratefulness, and contentment, knowing that God was at work even in this. My time of feeling sick was actually quite short lived, for which I am most grateful. And I am feeling good as new – perhaps better than new – which is truly a gift!
It strikes me that we have choices in each and every situation in life that doesn’t go our way – to focus on and dwell in the not-so-perfect aspects of life or to trust that even in those times God is at work and bringing good from them.