Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Happiness is such a relative word.
It's amazing what a change in perspective can do to really bring things into focus.
What we need. What we are grateful for. What we love. What makes us happy.

Sometimes it takes a violent sort of shaking; Two hands on your face, forcing you to look elsewhere, and not only to look, but to focus. 

That violence came for me in two forms last week. One was a book. The other a friend.

For book club this month we read A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. It was enlightening and heart breaking. It caused me to look at my own life, and to see all I have. To see my own freedom- the rights that I take for granted every single day- because I have never know any different. To worship God when, where and the way that I want. To be educated. To have access to health care for myself and my family. To have my basic needs met. Food. Water. Warmth. Shelter.
More than anything, it made me look at my right to choose.
I live my life with the needs and desires of my children and my husband in mind- and I try to do all I can to keep them happy, but ultimately the choices that I make, as a wife, as a mother, as a woman are MINE. I am able to do what I want. Go where I want. Be who I want to be. It is my choice.

A Thousand Splendid Suns follows the lives of two women in Afghanistan. The things they went through were horrific. And they endured, at times, in defense of nothing more than their own lives. They made sacrifices for the future of their children, their families, and ultimately the future of their own country. But those sacrifices to bring about change that they experienced came only after years and years of enduring abuse, neglect, and disrespect from those who should have cared, supported and defended them; their families, laws, government and their country. 

This book left me in tears a few nights in a row. I would read until my iPad was dead, and then I would force myself to turn out the light and try to sleep. I would feel relief if I heard one of my children crying. Relief that I could hold them close and comfort them. Relief that our reality is so different from that in the book. 

I was feeling pretty raw, emotionally last week (I'll blame it on the book + lack of sleep) when a friend shared some news with me. She is young. In shape. She has a beautiful family. And she has cancer. It still brings tears to my eyes whenever I think about it. And thinking about it is a frequent occurrence. 
Dave gave a talk at church on Sunday. Thoughts of my friend and her young family interrupted every discussion we had, as Dave tried to prepare his talk, and as we tried to carry on through out the day.

Since hearing her news I've felt this cloudy sorrow looming; this helplessness, in wishing I could offer some real help- some real comfort or assistance. But at the same time I've felt this desperate sort of affection for the things in my own life. The things I need, the things I'm grateful for, the things I love and the things that make me happy. More than anything else, I felt this heart wrenching love for my husband and children. An adoration that can only be felt at the horrific threat or even thought of loss. And as I felt these things the word perspective slipped into my mind, and has floated there for days. I've had an amazing shift in perspective, as the things that truly matter float into focus.

And so, even though it's been an emotional week, it's been a good one. I have gratitude in my heart for this country. For my freedom. For the amazing individuals that I am blessed to know. I've hugged my children tighter this week. Breathed in their scent and tried to hold on to it. Kissed their tears with more tenderness. Nibbled their sweet toes with more affection. Laughed more. And yeah- cried harder. I've felt more appreciation for my husband. My hands find his more often. My head finds his shoulder with more warmth. I feel a greater measure of gratitude for all that I have. 

And through it all- I have realized something. 
I am happy.