Deep Joy

I’m not sure why it seems more thoughtful to critique and pick apart and disagree with an academic paper than it is to commend good work. I’m not sure why depressed artists seem to have the worthiest poems and paintings and songs, whereas happy art is “trite” and “one-dimensional”. I’m not sure why it seems deeper to admit that I’m not okay than it is to truly say that I’m finding a world of joy. The depths I’m finding are beautiful and spacious, yet when a friend asks me if I’m okay and I can say, “I really am,” it doesn’t seem to be the deep, friendship-building conversation that secret pain is. I suppose the depths of my joy are secret, too, but those seem like bragging or insensitive gushing when shared.
While I definitely think the darker side of things needs to be explored, I think there has been a recent shift that makes pain more “worthy” than joy. It seems as if we have created a generation that believes that happiness is something only oblivious, rich, boring people have. We all say we’re searching for happiness, yet happiness creates no intrigue, no drama. And when we get all the things that are supposed to make us happy, we don’t know what to do with ourselves.
I am finding joy lately. Deep, lasting, nuanced joy. Maybe the difference in vocabulary is meaningful here. Maybe everyone searching for happiness will always keep chasing, because happiness is a momentary feeling that can be achieved by a cheeseburger but dissipates quickly. I think joy is a long-term deal. A life of joy is not one devoid of sadness, but, rather, one that can find contentment and meaning. I have a teething toddler. My life is by no means happy much of the time lately. But I do think I’m living a life of deep joy. I am living the life I want most of he time, and, when I don’t, I can see myself steering my boat in that direction and taking time to enjoy the ride. I live in a little house in a little town with a little boy and his father. I have a witchy little garden with big, rough borage leaves and little wisps of chamomile to make tea for my family. I am deepening my spiritual self every day, finding my awareness constantly more open. I do yoga with my son every day. I have more than enough, and I see that abundance increasing. I have found and made a beautiful life.
I suppose I wish these things could be said without seeming trite. I wish I could still be seen as a woman with a story worth telling, even when my story is sweet. I hope my son won’t grow up thinking he has to be sad to be interesting. But, for now, all I can do is embrace my joyous, abundant world, and be okay with being quietly boring for awhile.


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