The joy-filled life

The discouragement was overwhelming and growing by the minute. So many things were coming at her; possibilities were expiring; problems were piling up.

Teaching is never an easy job. And it’s the most difficult at the beginning and end of the school year—this was the last week. One of her favorite classes didn’t do well in the year-end exams. Had she failed?

She got paid per lesson, and because of the two-week break, she’d only get half her usual salary this month. Then one of the students she was giving private lessons to called to say he was quitting. This will be a tight month, she thought, feeling sorry for herself.

As she walked out, she thought of her upcoming birthday party, which she was no longer looking forward to as much. Some people she was hoping would attend had let her know they couldn’t make it. And both her sons were living in other countries. Her nose began tickling—a sign of tears threatening to overflow.

As she waited at the bus stop, her thoughts wandered to her own exams less than a week away and how unprepared she felt.

It was drizzling; the bus was late. It finally arrived, but soon got stuck in traffic, and the ride home took twice as long as usual. She wanted to call her sister, but her phone was dead. What a day!

The last straw was the electricity bill slipped under her door. It was larger than expected.

She dropped on the couch and cried. She was upset at the problems, at the situation, at her loneliness, but also at letting herself fall into depression and self-pity. She quietly prayed the simplest shortest prayer that always worked. “Please, Jesus, do something!”

The rain stopped. She could hear the birds. The wind blew in the fragrance of blossoming lilacs. That felt like the first break she’d gotten all day. She decided to play a gratitude game that she’d played countless times with her boys.

“Thank You for my sons who are happy and healthy.” Both boys brought her so much joy.

“Thank You that I have a place to live.” She felt better already.

“Thank You for Your supply,” she mumbled, making her favorite tea.

“Thank You for the magic of music!” She browsed through her favorite playlist.

She looked out the window and was struck by the bright colors of one of the most beautiful sunsets she’d seen. Her heart felt grateful. Her soul was rejoicing, as she was reminded that life was filled with joys, both big and small.