Finding joy in the journey of life means that each day we enjoy the process of life. We are not looking for some end result or final product to be happy and find joy.
I will admit right up front that this is not my strong suit!
When I was twelve, I wanted to be thirteen so that I could finally be considered a teenager. When I was fifteen, I wanted to be sixteen so that my parents would allow me to date. When I was a single adult, I just wanted to be married. After I was married, I just wanted to have a child. After I had a child, I felt like I needed two. After I had two boys, I felt like I needed a daughter. Now that I have five children, I can’t wait for them to grow up and move out! (LOL! Just on tough days!) After they grow up and move out, I am sure I will miss them and will be wishing for grandchildren. In the past few sentences, I have just wished away my entire life! How many of us constantly wish for the next stage of life? When it’s peaceful, we are bored and crave some excitement and adventure, and when it’s busy, we wish for some peace and quiet.
How much easier our lives would be if we would just enjoy the process. Instead of saying, “I can’t wait to be graduated from college and be done with school,” we could try, “I really love where I am in life, and how much I am learning and growing.” How many times have we heard someone say, “If I could just get married, then I would be happy” or, “If I could just get little Johnny potty trained, then I would be happy” or, “If my kids were older and could help out more, then I would be happy”? News flash: If you are miserable and unhappy now, potty training little Johnny, isn’t going to miraculously transform you into a happy, cheerful person (although it will save you a ton of money on diapers ;)).
In numerous childhood movies I watched the prince and princess find each other and ride off happily into the sunset as the words “The End” or “They Lived Happily Ever After” were displayed in beautiful script on the TV screen. The problem is, they don’t ever show you the rest of the story. So in case you were wondering, let me tell you what happens.
As the prince and princess ride off into the sunset, they get a flat tire. Prince Charming gets out to change it and it begins to rain. About that time he realizes he doesn’t have a spare, so the prince and the princess begin to walk towards the nearest town. It is muddy and the princess’s perfect dress gets ruined. It is wet and cold, and when she thinks things can’t get any worse, the heel on her perfect glass slipper breaks off. They arrive in town and head to the nearest hotel only to realize that Prince Charming left his wallet back in the car. And on and on it goes. You get the picture. Marriage is hard work. Being a mom is hard work. Hang in there and enjoy the ride, or the walk in the rain. Just splash in the mud puddles (or play in the sprinklers) and enjoy the rainbows that life throws at you!
I have enjoyed these words of Jenkins Lloyd Jones. Said he: ‘There seems to be a superstition among many thousands of our young [men and women] who hold hands and smooch in the drive-ins that marriage is a cottage surrounded by perpetual hollyhocks to which a perpetually young and handsome husband comes home to a perpetually young and [beautiful] wife. When the hollyhocks wither and boredom and bills appear the divorce courts are jammed. …Anyone who imagines that bliss [in marriage] is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he has been robbed. [The fact is,] most putts don’t drop. Most beef is tough. Most children grow up to be just people. Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration. Most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. …Life is like an old-time rail journey—delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride” (“Big Rock Candy Mountains,” Deseret News, 12 June 1973, A4).
Every stage of life has its advantages and trials. So much in life depends on our attitude. Make the choice to be happy now. The way we choose to see things and respond to others makes all the difference. We should do the best we can and then choose to be happy about our circumstances, whatever they may be. This can bring peace and contentment. Resolve today to count your blessing and make a list of all of the wonderful things happening in your life right now, at this very moment. Find joy every single day in the journey of life.
Written by contributing author Heather Grant