The holidays are a wonderful time of year. Family and friends, Decor and music. Treats. But not necessarily so for everyone. The older I get, the more I realize that choosing joy can be really tough sometimes. Just the other day, Shelly (for lack of her real name) told me how difficult finding her joy is during this season especially. Shelly said that she had lost her mom a few years ago, and, she had been feeling as if she were struggling just to go through the motions in her life. Then, a couple of years ago, someone told her to try helping with a project at the FOA. Shelly has been here off and on ever since. She told me that working with people here reminded her of good things going on and good people in the world.
There’s something truly remarkable about the act of creation in conjunction with others. It seems to bring a level of fulfillment that few other activities do. I believe it is about engaging in something divined for us from the beginning of time. As we create, we are doing what we were created to do in the image of the Artist. And creating art with others is doubly blessed because we were created to be with others. Of course, other activities are fun, they can teach us good lessons, too. Reading is so important, playing sports is great for personal growth, and, even watching TV can help me relax after a stressful day. But creating something worthwhile brings a contentment deep in your soul that’s hard to explain. And collaborative art, where you are working closely with other people in your community, can add even more opportunities for relationship and blessings. As I look around, I see more “Shellys” than I used to. Perhaps it’s the stage of life I’m in. For me, celebrating the One who defined redemption and generosity with the rest of the believing world is the biggest reason to find joy in the holidays. But sometimes you can have the best reasons in the world, and still feel like it’s a struggle.
Like many people, sometimes I battle depression and anxiety, and, like Shelly, these days are a bit more of a challenge to find my joy as well. I think I’ll try to find someone I can help, and start a project. Wanna try it?
Blessings and Merry Christmas to you and your family during these days!