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Resurrecting Joy from Hell.

Christmas 2022

I feel a jitteriness in my fingers pressing me to get this thought to you: Joy. Joy. Joy. It is creeping inside my being, distressed at being held down. There is a bubble that aches to be brought to the surface and expose the brilliance of joy. The consuming, deafening beat of joy. A feeling that surpasses this world. The word “joy” is popping up more often this season and I’m concerned it is beginning to be a buzzword that will be washed into the blur of the Christmas/holiday season.


Joy is my word. I cannot bear for the meaning of it to be minimized.


This Christmas, my children will not be at home. As part of the custody agreement, we alternate major holidays and this year is their father’s year. We have been doing this for several years.

The first Christmas they weren’t here, I was sick with a fever and could not get off the couch. I slept for 2 days, barely able to function. Today, I recognize this was mostly a traumatic response to grief my soul could not hold.

The next year, I had my children and I bought a big light for my yard that said: JOY. It was obnoxious, colorful, and bright and I kept it on 24/7. Oh, the joy of waking up with children in my home.

2 years later, I did not have my children. Christmas morning, I awoke, took all the decorations off my Christmas tree, dragged the empty, dead tree out to the curb, and closed my doors to the world. I had the JOY lit in my yard but my heart did not feel it.

The next year with my children, the colorful JOY was lit in my yard, colors blinking with the anticipation of Christmas. I woke early on Christmas morning and waited for my precious gifts to wake up. I miss the Christmas mornings my #2 would wake me at 4 am, delight streaming from his voice as he excitedly whispered, “He came! Santa came! He really did!” What I wouldn’t do to drag his chubby body next to me again in my warm bed and snuggle until a sane waking hour. I had to put my Joy light to rest at the end of this season. The lights had become dim, which did not reflect who I am.

This year, I wonder where my heart will be in my empty home. I’m hoping not to get sick. I needed a new Joy light- and opted for sheer, white, pure joy. And since my children asked for a 10 ft tree, which we put it up in my foyer, I suspect hauling it to the curb on Christmas Day won’t be an option.

I’m not even sure I want to. I don’t feel quite so helpless, hopeless, and lost this year.

I’m not angry at God anymore. He’s the wrong one to be mad at. I’m infuriated with the dark one.

I’m learning how to fight the battle, even though having a battle plan does not guarantee success.

I can see how I’m using my pain, my grief, my brutal abusive past as a tool for others.

I feel JOY percolating

  • When a client shifts a millimeter,

  • Finds a crumb of courage,

  • Touches a smidge of hope,

  • and I actually get kinda giddy when I see them feel a hint of joy.


Hope moves you forward in life, but joy sustains hope.


I still haven’t heard from my judge (the complete series begins HERE).

Please enjoy Pentatonix as they sing: JOY TO THE WORLD!

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