deeper joy : tainted happiness

This Christmas I have found myself enjoying the holidays much more than previous years. I think it’s because I don’t have a newborn in my house. The past two years I have had either a 3 week old or a 6 week old. Whew! I mean, there is a magic and amazement about having a little tiny baby around at Christmas time, but then again, it’s all kind of a blur because I don’t think we were sleeping all that much. So, needless to say, I’m remembering this year and I feel very aware and able to go and do more because my babies aren’t quite so needy of their mommy. I’ve loved seeing the wonder on both Zoe and Jack’s faces as they read Christmas books and look at ornaments and see the beautiful Christmas displays across town. It’s an incredible feeling.  I would definitely say my joy is deeper than ever.

But I’ve been more heavy hearted than usual as well. I really couldn’t explain it well until I watched something on TV.  I love stories of great purpose and of adventure and of deep meaning. So, thus I love the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and have totally fallen in love with the Harry Potter Series (we watched them all the past week since I hadn’t seen any of them before now)  And I find myself very wrapped up in the character of the one chosen to carry out a very hard but very important task. It’s fascinating to me as they learn of what they have been asked to do and the role they are destined to play, that they start to change before our eyes. It doesn’t happen fast, Frodo it happens over the course of 3 epic movies and for Harry it’s taken his whole teenage life. They grow up. They develop much deeper relationships. They get to see sights and wonders that truly do awe them. They are thankful for the things others often take for granted. They become connected with people that they never would have crossed paths with before. But also, they are exposed to greater pain but that also creates a greater desire to have the cause of that pain destroyed. The curtain is pulled back on the ugly evils of their world thus bringing all sorts of new fears into their life, yet due to the journey and quest they are somehow less afraid.  But I think the one that sticks out the most to me is that they are visibly changed… altered… different by the journey and even more by the role they had in the journey.  You see, both of them were asked to carry a burden and to be the one who had to fight the evil one on a very intimate level and at great cost to themselves. And though the victory was sweet and the celebration was great…. those two were forever changed. Happiness is forever tainted. You can see it in their eyes. You can see it in their interactions with their loved ones. They are not the boys they started out as in book one and movie one.  One who might not have walked with them in this journey might actually miss the young harry or the shire frodo because they used to have so much happiness and spark and adventure for life in them. Now, they are more reserved, more introspective, more sad.  But those who know them best can see that while yes, they are different and they might even miss the “good ol’ days” of youthful glee and the untainted view of the world that lie ahead, they understand that their loved one is changed for good and for the better.

I think that’s why I can relate well to those characters.  I see something in their weary eyes that I feel in my soul.  You see, the curtain has been pulled back on some of the evils that exist and it’s robbed me of something so precious and intimate that I am forever scarred and changed.  I know this isn’t the final book by any stretch, and I do realize that in our very real journey through time that the evil one has been defeated and one day will be destroyed…. and I’m so thankful for the Chosen one who gave His life for me and bears the scars that give me freedom from fear and hope for tomorrow!! But I am realizing that I have been asked to carry a burden that not everyone is asked to carry.  This journey God has taken me on thus far, it’s deepened my relationships, I am grateful for things I would otherwise take for granted and I’ve been so blessed with people with whom I might never would have crossed paths with….. BUT  with that has come a greater desire to see the one responsible for death and sin destroyed, I have a greater tendency to fear certain things because I know keenly the pain that it brings, and probably what I’m most aware of this Christmas is that my Happiness is forever tainted.  You see, celebrations and joyful holidays have even a deeper meaning for me now but they also have with it a deeper sorrow with it too.   Christmas is the day I told my husband that I was expecting 3 years ago.  Christmas 2 years ago is the time we had a tiny tiny baby in our home who was there and being loved deeply because her older brother couldn’t be. Zoe’s birthday will always be one of reflection of the fact that someone else wouldn’t be turning another year older.  The fact that we have a son that seemingly nobody wanted is again a chapter of the journey through having a son that we desperately wanted but couldn’t have. And this will continue as long as I live… Zoe’s wedding will be one of reflection, Jack’s first football game will be so exciting but this momma will still be reminded of the son that never could have played football. But all those events will also have a greater joy because life is more precious to me, events of celebration and growth are not taken for granted. And my children will be held a little tighter and loved a little deeper because of this journey we’ve been on.

So while I don’t think that either Harry or Frodo would go back to the boys they used to be in exchange for the untainted happiness they once were able to experience, I do think that they will always look back and miss those days.  I know I do. But would I trade who I am now and all that God has done in my life and in my family  for a life that was unmarred by death and loss,  would I wish that the curtain was still pulled shut on the pain that is prevalent in this world, would I exchange a blissful distant relationship with evil one for the intimate battle have and now face, NO. Because I’ve read the end chapter of this epic story I’m living. I know the ending. And the great victory and the destruction of the evil one once and for all is worth the pain, fear and heavy heartedness. And most of all that I will be surrounded one day with the most amazing beings our imagination could ever conjure up yet they will pale in comparison to the glory of the Chosen One who knows very well each of our pains and struggles yet has conquered them and banished them away for all time.  Then…. and only then will true happiness be restored.

So if you run into me one day on this side of heaven, you may see evidences of this journey in my eyes, in the way I interact with my loved ones, in the way I view the world, you’ll know that I am changed…. yes, for good; but oh for the better! While the sparkle of happiness may be less bright… I hope the deep deep pools of joy are ever so inviting.

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