I was recently asked how I was able to move to joy so soon after the passing of my father. I find that defining moments such as this one are met with the building of a relationship with many types of emotions. The adjustment to a new way of living can be colorful if I allow for the accessibility to it. However, in the months after my caregiving responsibilities came to a close and my father's loss was more palpable, describing my experience as one that was swaddled in joy seemed misguided and implausible. I had invariably conformed to thinking that joy was an emphatic state of bliss that overcomes our being. But I have since realized that authentic joy for me is wandering in and with the extensions of all of my experiences. I now diagnose the circumstances surrounding and ingrained profoundly within my caregiving story as moments full of agony, curiosity and revelation--all of which have generously reached out to the hand of joy. Yes, unrelenting joy.
One evening, my father needed assistance putting on his shoes. He was in a power chair, as his mobility and balance were considerably limited to bend down and take on what he had once experienced as a simple daily action. He gently pointed to the pale brown slippers directly in front of his feet and looked at me holding a gaze of appreciation. I delicately placed his slippers on his feet and he placed his hand on my head- a gesture that showed his respect for me. In a world that is full of complexities, joy finds its way to those quiet, uncomplicated moments. It is attainable even in times that ask us to succumb to despair.
Part of my discovery was ceasing any of my prior beliefs in how it should present itself. Joy paved the way from unforeseen circumstances to a worldly purpose. It is the undercurrent of what runs my creative process. It is full of blessed moments that are filled with sorrow and elation as it opens up a conversation with myself and humanity. As I took more time to indulge in it, it blew through what I had once considered "my story" and redirected my energy to listen to the many stories of others who walked a path similar to mine and whose unique and diverse accounts have only elevated my gratitude for community.
Joy shows up to give each beginning and each ending the comfort of peace, as a way to expand our mind and live courageously in every incredible span of transformation. And in the recognition of this, I gladly show up for joy too.