My Mom went on to be with the Lord in May, 2006. There have been many days since then that I think back on how wonderfully blessed I was to have had her as a Mom. I suppose there are many of us that would say the same things about their own Mom. Looking back on her now, after these years, it’s even more amazing to me how special she was. How she lived her life and how she treated others made a permanent impact on the many lives whose paths she crossed.
It wasn’t that she was some “great” member of society, as we would know it. She wasn’t a great business person. She didn’t have a worthy profession such as a Nurse or School Teacher. In fact, there was nothing that would really set her apart by the world’s standards. But, as I came to learn, she didn’t live by the world’s standards. She had another set of heavenly standards and priorities by which she operated. Standards that are ever so hard to follow, but seemed effortless with her.
Mom was not blessed with good physical health. She suffered through multiple back operations (8 or 9, I believe); multiple blood clots as a result of various surgeries; strokes; lung and breathing issues; and on and on I could go. The point here is not what she suffered through but rather the victories that she lived while enduring these issues. I know I am biased in saying what I am about to say, but I can honestly and sincerely say that I can’t remember a time where I ever heard her overly complain about her lot in life. She never had the “woe is me” complex, or the “God, why me” complex. I never heard her say she wished that she was not the way she was, or if she could be like someone else. Honestly, not one time did I ever hear that from her lips.
To me, it was such a perfect example of how we should lead our life’s. We are so caught up in materialism and “keeping up with the Jones'” that we lose sight of what is really important in life. We think that buying the next car, or better house, or whatever might be on your list, will suddenly make us happy. Instead, it just makes us emptier. I realized that there is a tremendous difference between Happiness and Joy. Contrary to popular belief, they’re not the same.
Mom had a special relationship with our Creator. A personal relationship. She just didn’t know who He was. She knew Him on a personal level. She had total and complete confidence that her life was exactly as He designed it. Even though, by the World’s standards, her life was painful beyond measure, she still had that inner confidence to know that she was in His hands and in His control. Mom’s happiness was not based on the outer self. It wasn’t based on the best car, or best house, or even how good she felt on a particular day—because she had many days in which she felt terribly. She learned the difference between having an inner Joy and peace that only a relationship with our Creator can provide. She learned that even though she may not always be “happy” with things that may have been going on in her life, she could still have that inner “joy” that gave her the strength to make it.
To this day, when I find myself feeling unhappy or sad, or even jealous of someone else, I remember my Mom and I remember that it really is the Joy in HIM that I should reach out and grab, and not the fleeing happiness that this world offers. Happiness is temporary. Joy is permanent.
Which one will you pursue?