The Light of Something Not Fully Born

Recently I have been noticing my hesitation towards joy. We all have this to some degree. It’s the belief that joy is something to be defended against because it can so easily be taken away.

I often feel a false sense of power in assuming the worst or lowering my expectations until my hope is stripped down and distorted into worry. This is often referred to as managing our expectations, but what we are really doing is guarding against vulnerability. The irony is vulnerability is the place where life touches us. Without it our dreams, even if they do come true, have no way to transform us. Vulnerability lives within the unknown, it’s that soft and tender place where we dare to hope.

For me sometimes there is a sense of shame attached to hoping. A timid but panicked voice scares me into thinking that something bad might happen, that my happiness won’t last, and that I don’t deserve what I want.

What would it be like not defend against joy? What if instead of trying to control how something turns out we planted our hope, blessed it and allowed it to grow? When and if it does grow, it will undoubtably look and feel different than we had imagined, but at least it was fertilized with our dreams and not our fear.

We as a culture are wary of this. We believe, wrongly, that if tomorrow we are not guaranteed safety, health and happiness, that today we cannot embrace those things. It is such an ungracious way to live: rejecting what are being gifted in the present moment because we don’t have an insurance policy on it.

It’s cliche but true: there are no guarantees in this life. If we wait for a divine assurance to be happy we’ll always be waiting. It is earthbound purgatory. When we constantly foretell disappointment we stop hoping, stop praying, and stop living.

The truth is that sometimes all we get is the light of something not fully born. It’s okay to feel the subtle joy that arises within us when we believe that things will get better, that our dreams might come true, and that the future will be kinder to us than the past.

As for me, I’m going to practice opening up to joy and not because I know that everything will work out the way I want it to but because it’s a possibility.

Jessie Curtner graduated from the Professional Coaching Course in 2014. You can read more of her writing on her blog, The In Between Space.

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