Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Struggle for Joy in one's life

I have often wondered when I was meeting someone very special and enlightened in India, the U.S or wherever I have been on earth. I have often wondered "What are they thinking to give off an aura like that"? "How can anyone be that genuinely happy and joyous in this world of so much sadness and pain?
The answer is something that I experienced today. "Because they choose to."

I have been struggling with family loyalty my whole life. Not the mental part of it. I long ago mentally forgave myself for thinking my own thoughts even if these thoughts and beliefs didn't completely mesh with my parents. No. My struggle has always been that I felt I owed my parents and forebears so much and that they gave me such a good start in life. They gave me a better start in life than most people I grew up with. So I always felt I owed them more than I could return. So when I got to be 17 and older I tried to be as kind and respectful as possible to make their lives easier. But still, when I didn't share a lot of their ideas and beliefs I saw the disappointment in their eyes as well. I think all parents go through this to a greater or lesser degree. And all children who care about and feel loyal to their parents for all that has been given them also struggle with what I have also struggled with.

But this struggle is emotional only for me not mental because by my early twenties I accepted that I must go my own way. Otherwise it was very clear to me that I would just self destruct by age 25. Since many people I knew and knew of did self destruct by 25 one way or another I knew I owed my parents to  try to stay alive even if it meant thinking my own thoughts and living my own life which in some ways might disappoint them because it would be a different life than they might choose.

However, sometime this week while I was saying to my wife, "I failed my Dad and now I have failed my Mom." My father passed away in 1985 and my mother in 2008. My wife said, "You didn't fail your parents. You were always a good son and were there for them as much as you were able." Even though this was true I wasn't able to be there for them in the way that I wanted to be. But in the end "Life is for the living" and when people start to pass away if you have a wife and children to think about you can't always just be with your parents in the way that you might want to be all the way to the end. Life most of the time just won't let you do exactly what you want unless you are single and sometimes not even then because of health or finances or distance or whatever.

Somehow, my wife saying to me that "You were always a good son to your parents" healed something very deep inside of me. Even though I always knew this I guess I needed someone to actually say this to me for me to fully accept that it was true.

And tonight I found myself finally allowing myself to feel some real deep happiness again. Yes. I have felt superficial happiness since my mother passed away in 2008 but it never went very deep. Tonight I felt this deep happiness that I have waited since my father passed away in 1985 to feel once again.

Like I said, "People feel Joy because they choose to." Nothing more. Nothing less.

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