Learning Joy (Plus the Splinter and the Weasel)

If only.

If only it didn’t take two hours to get Bubba to sleep, then this would have been a very different post.

You see, today I’ve been on a mission searching for joy.  I found it, and I’ve been crafting eloquent ways to write about it all day.  I was going to tell you about my kids laughing at each other, empty grocery bags, and sweeping my steps.  I was going to tell you about getting peed on, going for a jog, and getting splinters out with weasels*.  Most importantly, I was going to try to describe the mysterious relationship between joy and obedience.

But then Bubba wouldn’t fall asleep.  I swear sometimes that the boy is allergic to his bed. He’ll be completely passed out, limp in your arms, but the second his skin hits his sheets, he’s wide awake and heartbroken.

If only I had made him cry it out from the beginning. 

If only he was asleep right now, I could be writing. 

I can’t wait until he can put himself to bed like Chica.  I will get so much more sleep.  

So here we are again, right back to where I started yesterday.  Always thinking about what’s next and despising the moment in which I’m stuck.

Except this time I tried to battle those thoughts with the truth I’ve been finding.

I read today that we are called to view trouble as an opportunity for great joy.  Now I know not being able to get the baby to sleep is mild in the grand scheme of troubles.  But tonight it was robbing me of my joy, so I think this is the perfect place to start to try applying these instructions.  Start small, right?

But get this…the whole reason we are supposed to rejoice in our struggles is because we know that they build endurance in us.  So does this mean I should be happy I can endure two hours of bedtime because next month it will be three?  Yikes, I hope not.  I think it’s more like I should take joy in this moment because it’s going to make me better prepared for the next time that being a mom seems inconvenient or exhausting or impossible.

I’m not sure that tonight I actually took the opportunity to be joyful or even know how to do that exactly, but at least I was pondering the possibility in the moment.  Starting small.

How about you…do you have a concrete example of a time when you truly experienced joy in the midst of a trouble?  How did you train your “if only” brain to take the opportunity for joy instead of just wallowing?

*So, I’m guessing you didn’t particularly want to read about the grocery bags and me sweeping the floor, but maybe you’re just a tiny bit curious about the splinter and the weasel.  This makes me laugh every time I tell it, so read on if you need a little extra dose of joy today….

Yesterday we took Chica to the doctor for the physical she needs to start school.  The doc addressed all of the questions to me, much to the annoyance of Chica.  She tried and tried to interject extra bits of useful information without any luck of gaining his listening ear. Finally she found her opening in the conversation, and this is what she said…

“On vacation I got one splinter in this foot and two splinters in the other foot.  My mommy tried to get it out with a weasel, but it didn’t work.  When we got home she used a tweaser, and then it did work.”

Now I know she meant needle, but no telling what the doctor thought she meant.

I love that kid.

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4 thoughts on “Learning Joy (Plus the Splinter and the Weasel)

  1. I know bedtime can be a big struggle. I’m going through it with two-year-old Eliza. She has been going to sleep with a sitter or Dad mostly okay and waking later to nurse. But with me it’s pretty much nursing-required. Most times I don’t mind. This time is short. But two nights ago it just wasn’t going to happen. I was too upset and her comforting just wasn’t comforting to me. I basically let her cry it out, in my presence, until she was tired enough to just lie next to me while I sang. I know it’s hard. This is identical to two-year-old Sara Ellen. But I’m working on it gently. I just feel very strongly that crying it out, especially by himself, isn’t the answer. I wanted you to know I’m there with you.

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