Making Joy Palpable

Yesterday was a great day! We met up with some friends for a nice restaurant meal and then came back to our place for a game of cards. We had an absolutely fun evening! Laughter, good conversation and a carefree outlook was the order of the day.

It got me thinking back to a time many years ago when I was homeschooling my young family. One day I woke up happy, and my husband was astounded.

The source of my joy was that there were two books waiting for me at the post office and all I had to do was to go pick them up. I actually awakened with a smile on my face that day. Usually it was quite different–I’d wake up with a sense of dread and incompetence– at my abilities as a wife and as a homeschooling mom. I remembered later on that day, after getting a flat tire and my books being delivered to the wrong post office, we went to Tim Horton’s for a coffee.

My husband said to me, “I have a question for you. This morning you woke up happy. You never wake up happy. What’s going on?”

The answer was so simple, but the reason for the depression and bad mood on all the other days was not. I remember telling him that I hated my life and felt pressured all the time to be someone I was not capable of being. I felt that I could never measure up. Never.

The truth was that I could not experience joy as long as I was living a life that was contrary to everything I believed. I was not able to be true to myself because the cult we were in at the time obliged me to dress a certain way, act a certain way, live a certain way and even to speak in a specified manner. My children had to be perfect and neither I nor anyone else was ever able to make that happen. Children are not perfect, miniature adults. They are learning machines, messy, loud, fun, defiant, dirty, snotty, cuddly, transparent bundles of energy that are ready for anything.

My joy had been long ago been squashed. My light had gone out with the oppression and demands made on my life by the homeschooling cult we were in. I was not able to be spontaneous, not able to be myself. It has actually been thirteen years since I lived that life and it has only been in the last two that I have finally started to rediscover who I really am and to find my old self.

I kind of like my old self.

I know that ‘finding myself’ is a used out cliché of our times, but during those years I had really become lost as to who I was, where I came from, my roots, but most of all I had lost my Joie de vivre. My parents and siblings couldn’t understand who I had become.

Joy of living, huh? Joy of the Lord, saywhatt? It was kind of hard to have the Joy of the Lord when I was dying inside. I wondered why God would have me live a life that made me question how I was raised and my core values.

Back then I don’t think I had any idea what real joy was because I didn’t really know who God was. But I’m starting to figure it out now.

The saying, “You can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been.”, is helpful here. Perhaps remembering the tough times in my past will make joy more palpable in my present.


7 thoughts on “Making Joy Palpable

  1. How funny – you found me through Pinterest, but we live near each other – I am in HRM. I also homeschool (but definitely NOT ATI-style!). I knew homeschoolers in the 80s (in the States) who were into Gothard.


    • Colleen you might be one of the few Nova Scotians who have an inkling what Gothard’s cult was all about…
      Happy you are successfully homeschooliing- would love to chat with you.


      • I was a teen in the 80s, and we started going to a church where everyone homeschooled their little kids – I had never heard of homeschooling before and thought it was weird (my view was probably flavoured by the culture of that church). It’s funny that I ended up choosing this type of education for my own kids. But no, I steered far from the Gothard stuff. I remember seeing and reading one of his books when I was a teen – it messed with my head for a few years. But nope, seeing the results of his cult years later makes me cringe!


  2. Thank God that he restores us! I’m so happy to hear that you are finding your place again, Christine.
    P.S. I’ll be writing several posts next month on the topic of legalism. Stay tuned 🙂


  3. Hi! Yes, remembering tough times in our past does help to appreciate the present! Now, we know that we have the wonderful choice of beeing happy, that’s it, that’s all. Keep your beautiful smile Christine, that’s what I recall the most of you, even during those past years of struggling…:-)


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