What brings you joy? That’s a simple question that can be difficult to answer. Is it working in the garden that soothes your soul? Or teaching a child how to fish? Or is it sketching a landscape? Or maybe working on a car is when you’re in The Zone. Or perhaps it’s caring for an elderly person? There is no limit to the places and ways that we can do things that make our hearts sing. The trick is in finding out what it is that does it for you.
The thing is, as a recovering person, having joy as a part of my daily life wasn’t something that I had ever considered. Joy, as in, “I can find joy in my vocation”. What do you mean, I can go to work doing something I love? Noooo, that’s not people like me.
The World is My Oyster (on the half-shell)
But, it turns out that it CAN be a reality, even for a lower-middle class, former alkie/druggie. The question is, what are you willing to sacrifice to get there? Going back to school is absolutely not easy when you’re working and managing a household. BUT, what are the rewards that will come after you’ve achieved that Certification or Degree? I know that when I was a single parent, more money in the bank would have made all the difference. Single parents are stretched more than Stretch Armstrong, and finances are only a part of it. And education seems to be a strong start to getting ahead monetarily.
High School Lessons, 20 years later
I had never really known about setting goals and then figuring out how to get to them, little by little. I mean, like most of us, I wanted to win the Blue Ribbon without ever running the race. But once I got wind of the possibility of ME actually being more than I thought I could be, the wheels began to turn. I sought through prayer and meditation to find what my Higher Power’s will was for me. Then I began to investigate how I might be able to make that happen. God certainly will help us, but we have to do the footwork. Nobody came up to my door and offered me a grant so that I could go to college. BUT, once I started the ball rolling in that direction, doors began to open. It makes sense that God would want us to be educated when possible, considering that one of the wisest men in the Bigger Big Book said that there’s nothing better under the sun than finding pleasure your labors.
Ask, Seek, Knock
I’ve been told that it’s much easier to steer a vehicle that’s already moving. I think that applies to doing God’s will. If I am seeking counsel from people wiser than me, and following suggestions, after a while finding His will for my life won’t be such a mystery. In the process of looking for His will, I found that He has put desires in my heart that He wants to help me accomplish. However, I have to do the footwork. The first step being NOT PICKING UP for one day. Then repeating that, tomorrow.
Keep it Simple. It works!
In my early sobriety, God’s will was a huge mystery to me. How was I supposed to know what was God’s will and what was MY will?? I was such a manipulator that it was my normal to lie to myself and believe it. All day every day. I began to understand that each day that I don’t choose to relapse, I’ve done God’s will, at least in that aspect, for that day. That’s a LOT more than I ever did His will while I was out runnin’ and gunnin’. So that was my starting place.
Not my will, but Thine.
After doing the footwork for a few days, weeks, months, I began to find my joy. I sought out ways to get assistance going to college, and I waited. Some days it was like finding bread crumbs on a white beach. But I knew that if it was God’s will, it would happen, if I didn’t give up. And so it did. I returned to school after over 20 years away, and had a blast learning about the academics of Substance Abuse Counseling. I felt more fulfilled than I could remember feeling in a long time. In fact, I began to comprehend the word serenity!
Joy comes in many different vessels. What will yours look like? While happiness is fleeting, joy is what lasts.
So, how about you? Have you found your joy, yet? It’s not too late.
Posted from my hut in the forest.