Finding Joy

This morning I woke up to silent darkness, as I do every day. But this day was different. I slipped quietly out of the bedroom, so as not to wake my roommate. I found my way in the dark to the slider opening to the small balcony outside our beachfront apartment on the 15th floor. The cool air and wind blew in, and I closed the door quickly. No sitting outside early today!

            My writers’ group and I, four of us, are off on retreat in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Far from the cares and worries of the pandemic at home, we have come to write, to shop, to have fun and just to be together. Right now, I am smiling, because the others have gone to walk on the beach and I am alone, perfect for writing! I have already had my beach walk this morning.

            Time for reflection reminds me to look at all the joys in my life, things I take for granted every day, but which I cherish when I think about them. Appreciation. I am compelled to tell people of the joy they bring me by being part of my life. I do believe grief has made me vulnerable, so these feelings are new for me. I have always enjoyed my friends, but I never appreciated them in quite this way. A joy to hold onto.

            Yesterday I told the other women in the writers’ group that I feel they have rescued me from the inmost depths of my loneliness since my husband died eight months ago, right before the pandemic hit. Just to be around people who know me and care about me takes me a long way to wholeness.  

String paintings created
at the beach: Pam, Diane, Polly and Diana

          In addition, my book club has been meeting once a month outdoors for several months; we have been friends for years and it lifts my spirits just to be with them. There are nine of us regulars, and I smile and bask in the warm feelings.

            My daughter, Stacy, has always been a blessing in my life, holding a place in my heart for her alone. I also value my relationships with my four siblings, though we are scattered and rarely see each other. I cherish all my family, those who were mine and those who were Jerry’s. We have a history of caring for each other, and they have been loving to me throughout. All of them are mine now.

            I am a second-time widow now, but I have loved two wonderful men who loved me back, and I knew it. How can I not be thankful for that? I will always cherish those memories.

            In addition to the people in my life who make me happy is the joy I derive from writing my blog. It brings purpose and direction to my life and contributes immensely to my wellbeing and sense of identity, feeling wholly myself.

            I am in good health, something else to celebrate. I come from long-lived families on both sides, making me likely to live a long time. Not sure if that is such a good thing!

            I could mention the small pleasures I have found in my daily routine of living alone with my big black cat, Frankie. It grounds me and gives me hope that my solitary life will truly become joyful for me.

            I am hoping more joy will seep into me while I am here. If I look at the whole of my life, I can find more things to appreciate. I believe there are adventures ahead of me, and that thought is tantalizing. I need to be open to welcome my future story. I know it will be filled with joy.

Working on blog

View from our apartment
Sunrise from the lifeguard stand,
last morning

5 thoughts on “Finding Joy

  1. Polly, I’m so glad you were able to go on retreat with your writing group! What a beautiful time! I fully believe you have joy and adventure in your future. Joy and gratitude grow from within, and I have a strong hunch that the joy you are finding has been there all along; it was merely covered by a blanket of grief.
    Is your string painting of the waves?

    1. Karen, you made me laugh. My painting just happened. I had no plan, and hated what I produced, Kind of ended up looking like a big wave, though. Not going to adorn my walls any time soon!

  2. Love the photo of you working on the blog. This entry encapsulates how important gratitude is. Someone on Facebook posted a Buddhist quote: “Every situation is an opportunity. Either you harvest wellbeing, or suffering — it is your choice.” Well, I think that’s a degree of enlightenment that is hard for most mortals to achieve, but kudos to you for being able to harvest gratitude — consciously, articulately, not just a “feeling” — in the midst of loss and challenge. And by the way, I LIKE “The Green Wave”! It seems like it fits the blog, a “sea change.”

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