In college, like so many others, I struggled to figure out who I was and to be okay with that person. Dealing with depression, I now understand that debilitating inability to put one foot in front of the other. It was so difficult. I remember one day, driving down College Station road in Athens. I was on the phone with my dear friend Chrissie. I told her how I felt like just getting in the car today was an accomplishment. With not a tinge of downplaying that rough time in my life, she told me that some days you have to actively, purposely, intentionally, sometimes counter-intuitively, CHOOSE JOY. I remember the exact stop light I was at (near the coliseum if you must know) and remember thinking, this is some of the best advice I will hear in my life.
Last night I had dinner with the author of such sound advice and it makes me smile how easy joy came in her company. We all have our terrible, not so good, very bad days. Chrissie is no exception. And yet she CHOOSES joy. She CHOOSES to put her faith in her beloved God. She CHOOSES to seek out adventure and to let the day bring what it may. She CHOOSES not to succumb to those not so good days. And I for one, am so glad she CHOSE me as her friend. Because I have learned volumes from this gal.
This morning I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. literally. (I woke up sleeping across the bed, showing how restless I was last night). I heard the trash man coming and raced outside to get the very full trash can to the curb. Very nice trash man just smiled at bed-head, robe wearing Keri, probably thanking the Lord that I took the millisecond to put on the robe. Anyway, I was groggy and got back in bed. And then Monty jumped ONTO me in the bed. (R is out of town for most of the month so I am playing single dog mom, ugh.) P.S. Monty is NEVER allowed on the bed and jumping ON me was totally out of character. So, now I'm gross with doggy licks and say 'forget it, go get your leash'. And on this too early morning walk with the puppy, in Ross's oversized long-sleeved t-shirt and 3 size too big pants, I started singing. Song of the day was an old BSS classic "In you Lord I have found my peace...in you LORD I have joy..." And the word JOY hit me. Flash backs to the wonderful mexican dinner with one of my sweetest friends hit me. JOY hit me. Okay, Jesus, let me attempt to start this day that I am dreading with joy. Let me CHOOSE JOY today.
I had to get no farther than I-75 to practice my pledge for the day when the road was at a standstill. Three rosaries later, still sitting. Clock-in time has come and gone. But I am breathing deeply. I see the culprit. None other than a dark blue honda accord, stalled in the middle lane. I drive by her, blonde gal, 20 something. I smiled upward to the heavens. That girl could have so easily been me. And while I was late for work, I am not signing over my paycheck to a mechanic, nor am I having to ride with a sketchy tow-truck person. There is reason for JOY today.
And while I don't toootally feel like seeing patients and doing the social work thing, I will CHOOSE the joy in having a job, especially one that affords me the flexibility of blogging before I see said patients.
And while our rehearsal dinner fell completely apart last night, I will CHOOSE the joy in having a mother that marched directly down there and spent hours sorting it out (something tells me the chick that messed up is having a hard time choosing joy after listening to Mary for an hour). I will CHOOSE the joy in the fact that our families are providing us with this wedding and rehearsal dinner and that we're not having to mortgage our own underwear to pay for it.
And while I only had enough change for a diet coke instead of a diet coke and oats n' honey bar, (clearly choosing the diet coke), I will CHOOSE the joy in knowing that my hunger only lasts until noon.
And while Ross's kitchen looks like a war zone after our parties this weekend, I have NO problem choosing the JOY that comes from thinking about the amazing weekend we had, celebrating with our friends and family, who so selflessly gave us gifts with which to start our lives.
CHOOSING JOY, one intentional decision at a time.
with Weschler and Chrissie (right), author of 'choose joy!'