“Describe a time you were radiantly happy.
What do you value most in that memory?”
I came across this journal prompt yesterday, and I’m not sure how to write about it because truthfully I’m not wired that way anymore. I admire people who can show their emotions, express themselves freely, and others around them don’t have to guess what is going on. Me, I’m more of a wildcard, and others around me are continually left guessing as to what I’m feeling.
I wish I could express myself freely and have those ‘radiant’ feelings of joy and happiness, those times when I can cry, laugh, and weep. I see people around me who are so very emotive and expressive, and I get a little jealous. Somewhere deep in my mind, I suppose I’ve relinquished the thought that I can be radiantly happy. Perhaps out of a fear of expecting bad to follow good I’ve denied myself the chance to experience this feeling, and instead have opted to remain staid and demure. It’s safer this way. There’s less chance of getting hurt if I can control this side of the ups and downs of life, right?
As I laid in bed last night I peered through my past, and attempted to find a moment when I experienced happiness in this way, but most of the ‘normal’ happiness-inducing moments of my life have been clouded by sorrow. Finding out I was going to be a father was over-shadowed by divorce papers; finishing my bachelor’s degree was marred by a severely broken leg; a promising relationship was drowned out by unemployment; seminary has been a roller coaster of financial worries. It’s not that I haven’t had moments that would call out in my life to be radiantly happy, but life has also beaten me down a bit and has left me a bit jaded.
I was talking with some people yesterday about this journal prompt and I told them that I don’t have a lot of moments of radiance because I don’t give myself permission to feel that way anymore. I’m scared to do it because I’m scared of the bad things that may follow. It’s silly to live my life in fear (especially a fear of this), but I’ve done it for so long that I don’t really know how to do it any differently. I don’t know how to be ‘radiantly happy’.
Thinking about it, I realize I have a lot of work to do on myself to understand that it’s okay to feel emotions, to enjoy them, to enjoy life with all its ups-and-downs. I have to figure out how to find radiant happiness (and the moments that provoke it). I have to let go of my fears and worries, and just learn to enjoy life. But I also have to understand that maybe, just maybe, I’m not a ‘radiantly-happy’ kind of person. Maybe I don’t experience things in that way, and I need to be okay with that.
Whichever way I discover who/how I am, I pray that God can crack my emotions open, that my life can be changed, filtered, cleaned, and re-worked to become the man the Creator made me to become. I pray that God can help us all to express ourselves in ways that others can understand, and that we can share these emotions with others in our lives.
much love. sheth.