“One of the most profound changes in my life happened when I got my head around the relationship between gratitude and joy…Both joy and gratitude were described as spiritual practices that were bound to a belief in human interconnectedness and a power greater than us. People were quick to point out the difference between happiness and joy as the difference between a human emotion that’s connected to circumstances and a spiritual way of engaging with the world that’s connected to practicing gratitude” – Brené Brown
It has been nearly five weeks since Eliza’s surgery…where does the time go? I am sorry it’s taken me so long to post an official update, but the time has been filled with new adjustments, new challenges, and of course, new joys. But with the next (identical) surgery just over a week away, I felt compelled to reflect on the first. It was a day filled with so many sweet words of encouragement and countless reminders both big and small that God was there too, carrying all of us through the fear and uncertainty and shining His light on the things for which we were so grateful. The procedure went as well as we could have hoped, though we won’t know whether it was truly effective for quite some time.
We were told before the surgery to expect that once in the cast, Eliza would likely be really upset and were even given advice on how to alternate night responsibilities so that at least one of us would be able to get some rest. And then we saw our girl.
While she was initially uncomfortable and hungry after waking up, she was calm within moments it seemed, happy to be held in my arms. I didn’t care about the weight of the cast or the way it awkwardly kept her from being cradled in my lap. I didn’t even care that both my arm and leg fell asleep from the heaviness of it and the strange position. All I cared about was that she was back in my arms…awake and in one piece. But true to Eliza, she added an unexpected bonus that I should really expect unconditionally by this point: her joy!
Over and over again, she teaches me that circumstance is no match for a sweet disposition and a positive outlook. I know she is uncomfortable…she must be! But she focuses all of herself on connecting with us in smiles and coos despite it all. Full spica cast? No problem! She is patient, forgiving, and so very, very dear!
I want to adopt her perspective and live in the moments of love no matter what they may bring with them. And I want to share that same sense of peace and tenderness with the people in my life because really, it’s the only thing that I can control…the only thing that no person or even difficulty can take away or decide for me. And when we do that…when we choose love, gratitude, and even joy in the face of difficulty or pain, it is somehow deeper, more beautiful, and more inspiring. It leaves us in awe.
I am in awe of this baby girl and so very, very thankful for the privilege of being her mama and learning first-hand each day from her fresh eyes. It is gratitude. It is joy.