I am embarrassed to admit that it has been years since I felt only happiness and excitement upon hearing the announcement that a family was going to have a new addition. Usually the happiness and excitement for the expecting parents is twinged with a touch of bitterness, a heaping of jealousy and topped off with a dash of whoa-is-me. This time there was none of those feelings weighing me down and it was a moment of pure celebration.
Now a match in the adoption world in no way means that the journey has concluded and it is time for the happily every after to begin. No, a match is more like one of those road signs that gives you the mileage to your destination. Between here and there a construction project may pop up. The distance is the same, but the trip is delayed for who knows how long. An mishap may occur leading to the need to turn around and begin again another day. Upon arrival at the exit, you may discover the exit is currently closed and a detour is required to get to your destination. So to those peering into our world from the outside, a match may seem like just the next step toward parenthood, but for us it is like that road sign providing a sense of hope that this trip has not been in vain and that is in fact a moment to give out a small cheer of celebration.
Celebration...excitement...happiness...these are words that I tend to attribute to events such as the one I have just shared. However, the word joy is not a word that readily appears in my vocabulary. As has been the case over the last few years, as I began to learn I am not in control and have so very, very, VERY much to learn about the way the world works and my place in Gods kingdom, when I keep my ears, and more importantly my mind & spirit open, an important message shines through, The beginning of this learning began a few years ago with what hope truly means, it now appears I have some work to do to truly understand joy.
To this point I would say I have seen joy as a synonym to happiness. For the first three decades of my life happiness has equated getting what I wanted (preferably when and how I wanted it). Over the last few years, I have come to learn that the when & the how are not always going to be within my control and have made my peace with discovering happiness presents itself in its own time and in ways I may not have anticipated. However, I have just realized today that I am still gripping tightly to the idea that happiness is ultimately getting what I want. I am beginning to wonder whether the time has come to trade my definition of happiness in for God's gift of joy.