I’m having a hard time finding joy, recently. I read a reflection today by my friend Sarah who had encountered wisdom saying that joy flows from compassion. I wonder if I am not finding enough compassion, either for myself or for others, right now. Or maybe I just see the great need for compassion and feel that the task is far too large to take on myself.
Joy is a big deal and I want to do it right.
My daughter has started a new game where she laughs and then does something that she shouldn’t do, such as hitting me in the face. I tell her no, and she does it again. Laughing again.
I love my daughter’s laugh.
I do not love being hit.
I do not want her to hit me, or learn that hitting is how we do things.
She laughs again.
I tell her not to hit. I take hold of her hand. I tell her not to hit.
I let go. She hits me again.
And so I put her down out of my lap. I put space between her and me, so that she cannot reach me to hit me. She doesn’t like the space.
Nothing stops her until I do it. Saying no has not really become effective, even though she loves repeating the word.
The hitting stops.
So does the laughter.
But then she hugs me. And we are better together until she decides to try a new boundary again.
I’m wondering how she interprets the joy I share with her. Does she remember me laughing more than she remembers me teaching her a new limit?
And then, does God rejoice when I find a new game to play but is let down when I turn the game to my own destruction?
I believe God wants what is good for me, and that God wants to celebrate joy with me. I don’t believe that God is watching me to seek out an opportunity to punish me.
I am not a perfect parent. I lose my temper and get frustrated when my daughter keeps on doing what I have already asked her not to do. I have the feeling this tendency is far from over. Yay exercise of free will!
However, God is a perfect parent (among other things) and though God can and does get frustrated, God is more saddened by how I turn away from what God wants because it hurts me more than because it hurts God.
God wants what is best for me (and you) and goes out of the way to show love in whatever way possible. This is the compassion I long for in each of my relationships no matter if they are fleeting or forever.