Make Room for Joy

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The tree is standing naked in the living room; the only remains of a star studded holiday season. If I could sum up the month in one word it would be—special. Not special because the weeks surrounding Christmas are different than any other time of the year. Special in relation to past Christmases.

My efforts to make the season memorable for my family were the same as they are every year. I decorated the whole house, baked and cooked for days, made sure each person’s favorite Christmas tradition was honored, and selected gifts that had meaning.

So what made this Christmas better than any I can remember? This is the first year in over ten years that I felt completely free from my past. There was not a moment of yearning for something that did not exist.

Did I long for a biological mother’s love? Not when my aunt’s gift to me was to say, “I love you like one of my daughters. If I could adopt you I would.” I was filled with a mother’s love.

Was I wishing for an extended family to fill my home and my heart with joy? Not when my cousin and dearest friends felt closer to me than any family I ever had.

I’ve worked through the pain and anger of my past. I understood the benefits of doing that, but never until this holiday fully experienced those benefits. Years ago my therapist said to me, “Once you scrape out the filth from inside of you there will be room to be filled with joy.” I believed her and I/we did the scraping through years of therapy, but I never imagined what it would feel like to be truly “filled with joy”.

My past is just that—my past. I am no longer sad, in pain or angry. I am free! Free to feel the joy that others bring me. Free to enjoy the smiles, hugs and love that come my way. Free to be present and enjoy every moment of the holiday season and every day of my life.

As for my own family, my husband and children, I even feel different towards them. Perhaps it is that I am able, finally, to believe in their love for me and know the important place I hold in their lives. There is nothing blocking what flows between us. I am free to love them and accept their love.

So, what is the purpose of this post other than to expose my personal feelings in a public setting? My purpose is to offer hope. Whatever your past holds that is blocking you from feeling joy; get rid of it. Seek professional help, talk with someone you trust, do the work to scrape it out. When you do there will be room for joy. It is a feeling I cannot describe with words. Trust me, give it a try. You are worth it! Roberta

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