Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Joy in the Journey

The ancient Roman philosopher Horace admonished, “Whatever hour God has blessed you with, take it with grateful hand, nor postpone your joys from year to year, so that in whatever place you have been, you may say that you have lived happily.”

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Last night, I had a long talk with a good friend about trying to live in the here and now. The overwhelming theme I walked away with was 'just survive today'. How do I get through today?

In October, we had a church-wide conference, full of talks by various church members and leaders. I chose not to watch at that time. Why? Not because I didn't want to hear the messages, but because we do not know ahead of time topics that will be addressed. Back in October, I decided I wasn't strong enough to handle listening to a talk on 'parenting' or 'raising a family' or 'motherhood'. So, instead, I ordered all the talks on CD. I figured I could listen to them one at a time, in whatever order I wanted. And if there was a talk that I just wasn't ready to hear, I could save it for another day.

My CD came in the mail yesterday, and this morning I skimmed the titles. I paused on Thomas S. Monson's talk, 'Finding Joy in the Journey'. So similar to my conversation the previous evening, I decided to listen to this talk on the way to work.

Halfway through the talk, President Monson repeated the quote written above 'Whatever hour God has blessed you with, take it with grateful hand, nor postpone your joys from year to year, so that in whatever place you have been, you may say that you have lived happily.'

How many years have I been postponing my joy, waiting to start a family, to finally be 'truly happy'?

Thinking about this time of year specifically, how many Christmases have I spent thinking, "Maybe this will be our last Christmas just the two of us" or "By next Christmas, maybe I'll be a mom, or at least have the promise of being a mom soon"? How many Christmases have I mentally counted the number of children I should have by now, the ages they'd be, the gifts they'd ask for, their faces as they sang Christmas carols or saw the lit tree for the first time.

No matter the happiness and gratitude, there is a cloud over every holiday, as thoughts like these take residence in my mind.

I would love to say I have lived happily, no matter what place I was. I am trying to do that, but some days it is just so hard. I feel that sometimes, for me personally, it is impossible to simply choose to be happy. At one time I felt I could do that, but lately I've struggled.

However, I can always choose to try. To pick myself up, and forge ahead.

I am no different than anyone else dealing with something difficult in their life. Good days, bad days, but forging ahead anyway. There are people who have lost a loved one, a job, a friend, a dream. And we are all pressing on. This is life.

Quoting again from President Monson's talk: In The Music Man, Professor Harold Hill, one of the principal characters in the show, voices a caution that I share with you. Says he,

“You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you’ve collected a lot of empty yesterdays.”

So, here's to today, this season, this Christmas, this New Year. Worry about next year... next year. It's a day-by-day, minute-by-minute decision. And just trying is enough for now.

8 comments:

Nicole said...

This entry brought tears to my eyes. It definitely hit close to home. Here's to THIS Christmas and all of the wonderful people in our lives TODAY!

B MoM said...

great entry. good reminder to enjoy the journey of life..while we have it difficult, we can acknowledge that other aspects of our lives are wonderful. I received this Psalm reference in a daily devotional today and wanted to share it with you.
1 Blessed are all who fear the LORD,
who walk in his ways.
2 You will eat the fruit of your labor;
blessings and prosperity will be yours.

3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house;
your sons will be like olive shoots
around your table.

4 Thus is the man blessed
who fears the LORD.

5 May the LORD bless you from Zion
all the days of your life;
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem,

6 and may you live to see your children's children.
Peace be upon Israel.

Since you are a follower of Jesus, you are blessed and will receive the promises that God makes in this scripture. I believe it!

Amy Nielson said...

I really liked that talk by Pres Monson too. I have done that so many times myself (not enjoying the phase of life I'm in). When you are going through something difficult it's hard to enjoy the journey, but I try just like you are trying as well. Elder Wirthlin's talk was really good too. I gave a lesson on Sunday on that one. Thank you for the post to remind me once again to enjoy my journey.

Emily said...

This is such a thought provoking post. There are times along this journey where it does feel impossible to choose happiness, but you're right, we can always try.
Thanks for sharing! Take care...

Emily said...

Oh and I tagged you!

PalsRWe said...

Michelle,
Hey I don't know if you remember me, Katie Pauline's younger sister.. Kiley - I know we did tap together, those were the good old simple days. It's amazing the different roads we have all had to travel as we have moved on in our lives. Infertitlity is totally a "Tricky" one. I was stuck on that path for many years. "Unexplained Infertitlity" is what so many of us are diagnosed with, it sure is confusing, not having many answers. Stay strong, your prayers will be answered. Keep doing this blog not only for yourself but for others who may be struggling and don't have anyone to talk with about it. I wish I had had the courage to see a therapist during my times of trials and confusion. You are in my prayers.
Hugs, Kiley Henderson Powell

RMCarter said...

Hi Kiley,

Yes, I remember you! I am sorry you had to deal with infertility too. Such a strange trial, I sometimes can't believe how differently my life is, compared to what I always thought it would be.

I am happy you said hello. I hope you are doing well. Thank you for the encouraging words.

Michelle

rizandrocket said...

Michelle,

I just came across your website as I was preparing my RS lesson for tomorrow---"Finding Joy in the Journey"-Yes, using Pres. Monson's talk! How timely to find this! I just want you to know that I have been/still am in your shoes. I could have and have written word for word what you said about infertiliy. From the Christmas aspect to listening to conference. I have been married 9.5years and we just recently adopted a little boy...even though he has healed much of my heart, I still feel the struggle of IF. The rollercoaster of emotions is real and very much in your face so much of the time. Anyway, I could go on & on about all these things,but I just wanted you to know that I understand. Infertility is hard to comprehend unless you've walked in the same shoes...my husband & I have loved and lost a few times now and truly the only way to keep going is knowing that Someone has already forged the way for us.
I wish you best of luck in your journey. As President Monson says our lives are pretty much the same just with different details. Unfortunately you & the hubby have to deal with IF, but just know that there is another couple out there that feels what you've been through up to this point & are still going through. Not to sound stalkerish, but I wish we were neighbors so we could chat about the drama of life! Take care and best wishes for 2009! Liz C.
PS Thank you for this site...just perfect!

FAITH IN GOD MEANS HAVING FAITH IN HIS TIMING.