The 12 Blogs Of Christmas #8

When I initially asked for ideas for this series a fellow blogger suggested ‘Joy In A Pandemic.’ It’s a challenging title and one I’ve been keeping on the ‘long finger’ as I’m not quite sure what to write about. There has been little to feel joyful about during COVID-19 and, as the year ends, many feel we are back to square one as Northern Ireland enters another six week lockdown. Yes, there is a vaccine being rolled out but infection and death rates continue to rise in the meantime.

Added to my default setting as a ‘glass half empty’ type of person I’ve therefore struggled with this blog suggestion. I’m not a hypocrite and I’m not going to lie. COVID-19 has unsettled and frustrated me immensely in recent weeks. I believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel but it seems no nearer. It’s akin to running through treacle. Maximum effort with minimal progress to show for it. One step forward, but too many to count backwards.

I’m not one of those happy, clappy social media types either. People who portray their lives as wonderful, no matter what the circumstances. When I write, I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve. What you see is what you get, I do exactly what it says on the tin. If it weren’t for Fionnuala and the kids I fear this crisis may have overwhelmed me for, at times, I didn’t know where to turn or what to do.

I still do some days. I’m so very grateful for my family, so very undeserving of their love and support. Sometimes it’s a tough form of love but much needed to drag my chin off the floor and deliver the kick up the backside I so richly deserve. If that equates to joy then that’s what I offer up to you as it’s all I’ve got at the minute. I’m grateful beyond words for the solidity they offer my life. Joy can be quiet, humble and introspective. It’s not all rainbows and unicorns.

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 17 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

41 thoughts on “The 12 Blogs Of Christmas #8

  1. Regarding your ‘glass half empty’ default setting, many years ago when I was in a negative mental space, one particularly down day I was propelled into a bookstore; I always avoided any self-help articles, books or the like but ended up in that area. The first book I picked up was a slim paperback called “The Joy of Negative Thinking” by Donald G. Smith. In my gloomy frame of mind the title spoke to me; as I leafed through it a couple of suggestions
    jumped off of the pages. The first Mr. Smith recommended throwing away the glass; the second was a paragraph on how to learn to say ‘no’ and lastly, a chapter devoted to in-laws. I bought the book, it changed my life.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. My husband has been metaphorically skipping about the house, telling me how great of a time he’s had being home. 😀 In truth, his being here for most of our fifth son’s babyhood has been unique and helpful -none of the other boys has had so much time with his father.

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  3. I appreciate your honest reflections. I tens to be more of a Pollyanna/glass half full type of person … but this year has taken it’s toll on me too. I’ve wanted to crawl into a hole more than once, ducking from all the negativity and fear flying around me. But, like you, I’ve found a new solace in my family. And, for being a gruff lot, the people in the little town where I live, quietly continue to look out for one another. We have a yearly Christmas giving project that provides gifts and donations for families who are struggling … this year the giving far exceeded any other year, ever. Those kinds of things lift my spirits.

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  4. I appreciate your honesty and your excellent, real way of expressing yourself. Heaven defend us from the “happy, clappy social media types,” eh? Reminds me of the days when distribution of Christmas letters (or “year-end” letters), which often tended to be “happy, clappy” missives from everyone – dearest friends and family as well as the what’s-his-name grocer’s assistant you don’t even remember meeting. I rolled my eyes so much reading those things it gave me a headache. I engaged in that little ‘tradition’ myself a few times, but I was usually careful to include ALL of the news of the year, which most certainly was not always cheerful. Recipients were probably not all that grateful to read my news, I reckon, but there it is.

    You have done a great job of finding the JOY, Stephen. Family is not always a perfect source of joy, but often and usually it is. You and Charlie getting soaked on your cross-country excursion seemed like a joy-filled occasion, too!

    Blessings to you and your family.

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  5. If joy was all rainbows and unicorns, we’d all be up a creek. I’m not a happy clappy gal, but I’m working on finding the quiet joys (a new stray cat feeding with our lot and not running when he sees me) that help to keep the blues at bay. I’ve yet to meet a unicorn, so there’s that as well!

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  6. It seems that Fionnuala and the kids are enough. Thank God most of us have family. People who are alone are having a really tough time. There is so much to be grateful for. It’s a good idea to try to find that grateful spot every day. Today I am grateful for my daughter who jumped through all kinds of hoops during this pandemic to come home from Germany to visit us for a few weeks.

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  7. Happiness is an emotion – it’s a state of temporary reactions to environmental and emotional factors. Joy is more a state of being. It’s realizing that you don’t have to feel happy to be content; you don’t have to feel exuberant to know you are glad you are alive…even if it’s just today that you are content. It’s knowing that you can cry, knowing that you can still feel loneliness, knowing that sorrow may still haunt you, but you have joy in your being because you no longer hate existing. Happiness is elusive, and when we battle mental illness we feel defeated because most days we aren’t happy. We believe we are failures because happiness isn’t something we seem to know how to experience. Mental illness takes many things from us, and one of them is learning how to feel happy. Often times, it’s an emotional reaction we have to relearn. Something we have to retrain our brains to be allowed to feel, and not feel guilty about. That takes tremendous healing for the majority of us. The first step is recognizing joy: the notion that you can be content with your simple daily life, even with it’s foibles, pains, and annoyances, because you have a support system, and a reason to exist. It’s okay to know that you are essential; it’s okay to know that you will be missed. It’s okay to take joy in the knowledge that you are finally making a shadow on this planet, after so many years of being invisible.

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  8. I’m with you. I don’t turn to social media to define how I should be living. I turn more inward to my faith, family and friends. No unicorns there, but plenty of storms followed by gorgeous rainbows!

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  9. Some thought I was “Pollyanish”. Then they found out what I have been through. The question would then turn to, “How can you be so positive?” I answered, “Because the other option has almost killed me.” I’m not on FB; it’s been 2 1/2 years and I don’t miss it one bit. The boasts vs. the posts just seemed to be the way some boosted his/her own self-esteem. The comparison game was strong. And it mentally blocked me. Even the organized church I attended became more of a comparison game. The spirit was out. I’m free. I’m real, I’m raw, and there are times I’ve had my breakdowns. I look for unicorns sometimes though LOL. My life in my R.V. taught me so much. I like small tribes, family, and most importantly, my personal relationship with my maker, my God. What a beautiful family you have; and their support is tremendous! What a blessing! I’m choosing to reside with joy, fully aware that I’m not going to always be happy; yet, still trying to embrace the uncertainty, and love my quiet existence. God bless you and your family. You’re winning my friend. ❣

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