it was a weekend full of family time, good conversations and deep sharing of all that has transpired in our family these past few months. the conversations weaved in and out of play, laughs, tears, and profound connection through life’s joys and sorrows. the days were filled with a giving and receiving of one another. granting each other the space to search our stories. drinking in the sweetness as well as the bitterness is such a gift. how often do we have those people in our lives where we no longer need to hide our shadows or wear masks of pretense in hopes of acceptance? to be who we are and lay our burdens out freely.
i was just recapping the weekend with a good friend and hear some of the burdens he is carrying as well. as we shared he said, “shouldn’t life be joyful?” i responded, “absolutely, life should be joyful.” it’s a perplexing question, “can life be joyful in the midst of our pain?” i believe it can, but it is no easy task.
another good friend shared earlier this week about a poem where the author was to journey to paris, but somehow was rerouted to amsterdam. in the narrative the poet is comparing his experience in amsterdam to what he thought his time would be like if he had made it to paris. this of course made it difficult to be fully where he was since he was comparing everything to where he thought he would be. it wasn’t until the poet allowed himself to be fully present in amsterdam and to let go of paris that he was able to enjoy amsterdam.
this story beautifully illustrates the journey to finding joy in the midst of our pain. we must first be present in amsterdam and let go of paris…to fully receive where we are in our own journey and let go of where we thought we would be.
i’ve started practicing this in a fun way by claiming every damn day that, “i am in f’ing AMSTERDAM!” what i’m discovering is that each day i do this, the day begins to unfold more easily. receiving the kind reminders, the subtle happenings, the uniqueness of that day…that freshness of life one receives when they journey through a new city for the first time and let that city unfold itself to the traveler.
becoming a traveler in our own story. allowing ourselves to be in amsterdam and to let go of paris. to be fully present in our life. to drink in the sweetness with the bitterness. this i believe is the beginning of a joyful life.
drink it in!