Moments of Joy, Moments of Sorrow: The World in Balance

It amazes me how quickly moments of our life can change, bouncing us through a second of pure joy only to have us stop at a minute of total sadness, then we twirl back into the giddiness of the journey, only to be swallowed by the inevitability of the end.

I’ve been on a journey like that for a while now.

As some of you may know by now, I’m writing a book. Over the past week or so, the story has taken on a life of its own allowing me to pour thousands of words onto the page in an incredible rush of creative power. I’ve met characters I never expected to meet. Plots and subplots have become entwined in a tale that, I believe, only partially comes from me. I have become the conduit of the unseen world of creative energy to tell a story that wants to be told.

An old creation of mine, as I learned to connect with the pool of creative energy.

An old creation of mine, as I learned to connect with the pool of creative energy.

This is exciting and energizing, but can also be terrifying and demoralizing. On a good day, I find myself writing without the knowledge of time passing. I end with a feeling of exhaustion mixed with awe and joy. Some days, however, the writing becomes a torturous journey through badly written sentences, ideas that hit brick walls, or the worst feeling of having no clue what happens next.

The change can happen in an instant.

The writing isn’t the only thing taking me on this fast-paced emotional roller coaster ride. Life in general has a way of doing that.

A few posts back I announced that I put myself out there and applied for a directing gig at a nearby university. I felt good after the interview, but knew then it would just come down to whomever those students wanted to work with, and had very little to do with my talent or ability as a director.

I didn’t get the job.  I figured I hadn’t when I didn’t get word from them last Monday, so once I received the actual rejection I’d protected my heart from total crushing, but it still hurts.

I buried myself in writing instead.

Other things, though, have crept in to make sure my joy is balanced by sorrow.

The other day, Christine Grote, a talented writer whose shared her story of her sister and her family with beautiful, powerful words, posted “A Love Story” a poignant tribute to her father who has Alzheimer’s and her mother who was recently diagnosed with cancer, and their life-long love. Reading that, brought the reality of what is happening to my parents into sharp focus. Our situations differ, slightly, but I’m still losing my Dad to Alzheimer’s and watching my mother have to learn to let him go.

Yesterday, I mourned. I struggled with the emotions I haven’t shared with anyone about what’s happening. I feel guilt. I feel sorrow. I feel anger. I feel it all.

So I write.

Yesterday, Stuart Nager, who has been going through his own struggles lately and whose passions in life are similar to mine, posted this lovely post, called “Rededidication, First Light, First Night”. In it he describes the joys of a Chanukah celebration, despite the sorrows he’s faced over the past year.

I have been lighting candles this year with a mixture of joy and sadness. I always cherish the flicker of the Chanukah candles, but this year they sing to me of loss and sadness. I miss the days of my childhood menorahs, one of which you can see in this lovely post of my brothers called “Tradition . . . tradition”. One of the family menorahs played Ma’otzur from a music box. I hold that sound in my heart, and sang it after we lit our own candles last night.

Tori’s “Tiny Spark” series, though, has reminded me that sorrow doesn’t last and we can, indeed find beauty and joy despite the pain. Read today’s contribution “A Helpful Heart”, written by the fabulous Jamie Shea  from The Life of Jamie. I read it this morning, and realized the wonder and kindness that does exist in our world, even if sometimes it feels like its hard to find.

Life can’t be all joy. Life can’t be all sorrow. Life is living from moment to moment in this whirlwind of chaotic emotion, some good some bad. All we can do, is hold on for the ride and never give up.


16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tori Nelson
    Dec 10, 2012 @ 09:46:32

    Can’t be all joy. Can’t be all sorrow. That is a brilliant way to describe this odd, odd balance life seems to find.


  2. Sharon
    Dec 10, 2012 @ 10:11:30

    Oh, so true, these changeable emotions. You described it poetically. I think it means we are open to life.


    • Lisa Wields Words
      Dec 10, 2012 @ 10:27:35

      Thank you, Sharon. Thank you for “talking” with me yesterday. I really needed to just be able to say what I had to say to someone who I thought might understand. If I were there, I’d bring you chocolate right now. MMwwa!


  3. thelifeofjamie
    Dec 10, 2012 @ 10:21:48

    Good does exist. Sometimes we have to look a little deeper, but it certainly does. I’m sorry about your dad Lisa. That’s a tough disease. MWAH!


  4. lisaspiral
    Dec 10, 2012 @ 10:26:07

    There is something about the holiday season that seems to take our emotions to greater extremes. I’m glad you’re finding the balance, even if the sweep of the pendulum is especially large.


  5. Rachel Creager Ireland
    Dec 10, 2012 @ 11:10:26

    Sounds like you didn’t get the job because you need to be doing other things at this time, like writing that story that insists upon coming through you.

    One thing I learned watching my mom disintegrate into Alzheimers was that there can sometimes be healing through the disease. When she could no longer manage her behavior, she told me things she had never told anyone.

    Sad how much had to be lost for her to get to that point.


    • Lisa Wields Words
      Dec 10, 2012 @ 11:23:59

      I like that interpretation, Rachel.

      Early on we tried to interview my Dad using StoryCorps techniques to get some stories out of him. We we sort of successful, but not totally. Now he’s simply too far gone, and barely speaks at all. It’s so sad.


      • Rachel Creager Ireland
        Dec 10, 2012 @ 11:37:43

        You definitely can’t expect accurate reporting of events. What I saw with my Mom was emotional honesty that she hadn’t been capable of before. For healing, it doesn’t matter if the details are even true; it’s the expression of the emotion that counts.
        But, yes, the stories disappear. Just last night I pulled out some antique silver monogrammed dessert plates and FIL asked me where they came from. I’m sure they’re some kind of heirloom, but I have no idea whose they were. I don’t even know which side of the family they came from, since both families have the same initial.
        I’ve started a blog to connect with extended family, and that has helped somewhat in recovering some stories, and learning about the artifacts and history we share.


        • Lisa Wields Words
          Dec 10, 2012 @ 15:05:53

          I hate it when my replies disappear. The taping with my father did reveal something truly powerful, its the first time I realized how much my parents loved each other.

          I love the idea of your blog. I wish I had more family to help delve into times long past.


  6. Stuart Nager
    Dec 10, 2012 @ 16:33:31

    Thank you for the link and the kind words. I also just found out I did not get the job, so my doldrums are the doldrumiast.


  7. Kathryn McCullough
    Dec 10, 2012 @ 19:24:24

    I’m sorry to hear you didn’t get the directing gig, but goodness, I’m delighted your writing is going so well. How cool is that! And glad to know you found Christine’s blog! Sorry to be so behind on my blog reading!


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