single moment of joy




As I write this, the weather is sunny and warm. Tomorrow winter returns. A single day of warmth in the midst of a cold winter can remind us that spring will arrive. In the same way, a single moment of joy in the midst of a bad day, or deep sadness, or seemingly never-ending grief, or general malaise may remind us that goodness exists and that more joy is to come.

Today I attended a workshop. During the break, a familiar face appeared next to mine. I do not know this person well; but, we keep seeing each other in various places around town. I was given the opportunity to listen to a small snapshot of her recent life story. It contained loss. The particulars are not important for this post. She shared a small glimpse into her journey of faith. As she mentioned the subject of joy, tears welled up in my eyes. Her eyes then shared tears also. Joy! Joy is such an intense emotion … such a glorious feeling that defies definition. Joy exists! There were times in my past when I did not know if I would ever feel joy again. As I healed, joy still remained somewhat elusive; but, it appeared often enough. Today this woman and I shared tears and joy. Gratitude filled my heart. Connection with someone can occur when we least expect it. That connection can bring us to a place of wonder and gratitude.

Beauty is similar to joy. Beauty stirs and warms our hearts. Many people like to capture beauty on camera. Photos remind us of what we saw and may take us to that moment of awe or whatever emotion that was felt at the time. Recently I came across a quotation that resonated with me and remained in my mind.

“At some point in life the world’s beauty becomes enough. You don’t need to photograph, paint or even remember it. It is enough.”

 – Toni Morrison

As someone who dissociated in the past due to the abuse I suffered, I would record what appointments I had as well as some words describing what I did each day in datebooks. This was something I just did for years. Looking back, I see I wanted a record of what occurred in case my memory did not serve me well. As I healed, these datebooks were quite helpful in piecing together my past of abuse. As I came out of denial, these entries helped to add verification to the memories that surfaced. In the same way, photographs helped my healing process. Many times the memories that surfaced would contain many details. Later, I would search for a photograph during a certain time period. It was amazing how hair length or furnishings in a room would lend credence to what I remembered. As survivors, we all develop our own tools to heal. It takes much strength and courage to open ourselves to the healing process. I believe the healing journey is well worth the pain …. I, myself, wish I could have started the process of healing sooner. We each do what we are able in our own time frame.

Life is easier now. Dissociation is not an issue. PTSD symptoms are greatly lessened. I am more fully myself than I have ever been. I no longer keep datebooks. Sometimes my memory is not as great I would like. That is okay. That is life. As years go by, my memory may get weaker (as it does with many human beings).

Toni Morrison’s quote reminds me that I do not need photographs (although I still like them). I can stand in beauty or “be” in joy or peace. That is good enough. The joy and connection I felt with that woman today in the workshop was amazing. I do not need to capture the joy in any way, shape or form. I lived it. As Toni Morrison says, “It is enough”.