Mark 2:11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat, and go home.”
The other day, I talked with a young man who was grappling with professional challenges. He admitted to me that he tends to become depressed and that his negative thinking then greatly affects his behavior. I shared with him that I have a similar history and detailed some of the ways I have taught myself to live life in a way that fosters joy and balance. Little did I know that within days I would be putting these skills to the test.
For decades, I would have reacted to my current situation very differently. I might wallow in the negative emotions: fear, self-pity, grief, anger. I might shut out those who offer support.
This is not to say I don’t sometimes do this; after facing several crises in my early thirties, I did fall apart and then shut down. I’m human, not Teflon. Living in joy does not mean living in an imaginary world.
I look back on all those years in my teens, twenties, and even early thirties, when I chose to see life as difficult, tragic, or lonely. But I am grateful for having lived with those perspectives. Now I can face even the worst news with the knowledge that I will ultimately move forward. I have surrounded myself with friends and a community like no other I have experienced, people who offer me their joy and strength. I have learned to cherish each day, to choose making memories over merely going through the motions.
In the next few weeks, I may face great challenges. I will allow myself to feel the emotions that result. Then I will stand up and move on with my life.