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Gaudete Sunday...and not really happy about it

Today is Gaudete Sunday, the "halfway mark" of Advent that focuses on the joy of the nearness of Christ.  In fact, the readings virtually shout "rejoice, rejoice" at us - He is almost here!

And I'm not very happy about it.

Let's be clear.  Today is not about "happiness".  Happiness relies on external stuff:  your belly is full, you've got the stuff around you desire, you're comfortable, etc.  Joy is a whole other state:  it's about being able to rejoice DESPITE the lack of these things.  Joy is about recognizing that I'm never going to be completely happy in this life - because I'm never going to have all I want here.  It is only in Christ that we find joy.

All that being said, I'm not very happy today.  Our van got totaled this week - right after we borrowed $600 to have it repaired.  I spent the week scrambling to find a school to take Dark Haired Daughter, who got released from residential treatment about a month earlier than we had originally been told - and we got very short notice about it.  As you might imagine, schooling choices for a mentally ill and cognitively-challenged teen on probation are limited - ahem.  I finally found a place, but couldn't get anyone there to return my phone call.  Finally, I just showed up, papers in hand and demanded (nicely, but demanded) to enroll her.  All of which is great, but they have a uniform, and today I have to head out and shop for her....with money we don't have, 'cause the van just got totaled......and on it goes.

I had to get a surprise root canal (and let me tell you, the only thing worse than a root canal is a surprise root canal) and it still hurts.  This whole week was just horrid.

In the midst of it, I got a note from one of our spiritual advisors, a Franciscan Sister:  I kept asking myself what I could do to help the situation.  Finally it dawned on me - I can offer my suffering and pain that I have been living regarding our dog, Sophia.  It has been an arduous journey, but we finally came to the decision to have her put to sleep, and I just returned from the Vet's office.  She will be buried on our land.  I believe that my suffering through this whole process will be redemptive for you.  It is what I have to offer.

If I hadn't been at work, I would have put my head down and wept at that:  it was a moment of joy...pain and passion and support and knowledge that we are not alone in this very difficult time.

Today is Gaudete Sunday, and I'm not very happy.  But I am resolved to be joyful.

Comments

  1. Oh :( I hope next week is better for you! Thanks for your explanation of the difference between happiness and joy - how cool! :o)

    I'm a new follower from Catholic Mothers Online. Please feel free to come by my blog, and if you like, follow me back.

    Jamie
    For Love of Cupcakes

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  2. Praying for you, Elise. May your joy be complete.

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  3. Thanks for stopping by, Jamie! I will definitely be over for a visit!

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  4. Hon, feeling your pain...it's been hard in different kinds of ways here and trying to take on the Word and not myself...oy. Sunday here was all about joy as well, and how we are such a complaining people. It is HARD when we try and find joy in things that would otherwise knock us out! Trying also to be joyful in things that throw us for a loop and yet, we still stand on the Word, clinging...Like you, we have no roadmap and no one to lean on, but HIM. Peace, Sister.

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