By: Sofia Gonzalez @mrsg_p214
Re|Defined Women #BookClub, Love Life Again
I’ll never forget the day, and my long term memory isn’t as sharp as I’d like it to be. I was a freshman in high school: wild, young, and full of teenage angst and energy.
My dad was home earlier than expected. His face somber and pale. I threw my backpack on the floor and headed to the fridge for some afternoon rummaging. He cleared his throat by the counter.
“Hmmhmm, mija I think you need to go sit down with me. There’s something I have to tell you.”
“Ok, is mom cooking? I’m starving.”
He didn’t respond. I looked up from the fridge door, his eyes started to swell with tears. Dad doesn’t cry much. He had my attention.
He sat down first, and patted the couch for me to sit close to him. It immediately spilled out like a sudden knock of a glass of milk from your elbow, as you watch the glass and its liquid splatter everywhere.
“Your mother and I are getting a divorce.” I didn’t say anything, I felt the room closing in on me. My brain started to feel pressed, my heart beating quick beats, now poking at my skin.
“The love isn’t there mija, and I’m thinking of taking a job in Washington DC.”
Silence. Raw Silence, and then the dam broke. My father broke down into bite size pieces in front of me. He wept in his hands, as I stood there in a paralyzing shock, as this was too much for my teenage world to absorb. I did what any 14 year old may have done. In a panic, I ran out of the house and ran and ran for blocks as I cried uncontrollably. Over 20 years of marriage shattered in an instant. I become part of the statistic of a Latina who will be raised by a single mother. The road ahead seemed grim. But. God.
In Love Life Again, by Tracy Miles, she had me at one of her opening lines to chapter one when she said, “There came a time I had to accept that my life had not turned out the way I thought it would and no amount of wishing it were different was going to change it.”
Her open door policy with chapter one initiated so much respect for her in my mind’s eye, as she unfolded the culprit of her demise: Adultery and divorce. Those two words are enough to level an open field like Hurricane Maria’s work in Puerto Rico’s terrains.
Dang. She confronts the reader at the onset. Happy, joy has to be a choice. As disappointment sucks…it will literally suck the joy, peace, and happiness from the byways of your soul like a sailing ship on an oceanfront, never to return.
Through the disdain and the classroom of experience, I have learned the same. Loving life again can’t be circumstantial, but a constant posture that we will have to aspire towards everyday. Do we honestly think that our days are limitless? All the more reason we need to reach, grab, and put on joy each and every sunrise.
Because you see, sadness is seductive, almost sexy. We drape it over us like a blanket in the dead of winter nights, pulling it under our chins, wrapping our feet from the bottom so a toe doesn’t wiggle out. But happy? But joy?
That’s like grasping for straws. Or wind. We try to grab it, and let it go at the reckoning of a snatcher, a circumstance that would care to rob us blind. How easily do we let it flee. We hardly fight for it. Like a lover about to leave the midnight train, and we have one chance to convince them to stay. We let them board. We listen to the whistle blow. Cement blocks stick our feet in. We standby on the platform of life, watching the train pass us by.
Nehemiah said, as they were rebuilding the Jerusalem ruins, “Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (8:10).
Happy-joy? That’s a choice. It can exist even inside of grief’s quarters. Going deeper, it has to transform into a mindset, a psychological posture that one must embrace daily. Even if it be gradual, it must be progressive.
Do you know what else? It is proven that sadness, despondency, and depression lead to lethargy, a slowed heart rate, and even suicidal ideation. Yet, joy and happy actually fuse in us strength, clarity, energy, and an actual release of endorphins in our brains. Not unintentional by the Maker.
Choose joy, my dear heart. Choose happy today.
Your heart, your soul, your close knits, your Maker will be glad you did.
“For the joy of the Lord is your strength.” – Nehemiah 8:10