Did any of you wonder why I stopped blogging for months? It's not like I have an apparent excuses like I did while in school. I'm a stay at home wife, I don't have any children, and I don't have a job other than to keep our home tidy, beautiful, and well stocked with baked goods. It is obvious, therefore, that a lack of writing is not due to a lack of time. And it's not just that drawing all of those pictures takes a whole lot of effort. More than may be apparent at first glance. No, it goes a little further than that.
For the past year or so, I've been dealing with a health problem. I can't tell you what it is since I don't know what it is. Despite visiting many doctors, including specialists, we still have no diagnosis. I can tell you that it involves pain, limited energy, frustration, fear, and a very limited range of activities. There are days when just about all I can do is lounge on the couch and read books. Although, when I put it that way, my life sounds like an English major's dream- to sit and read all day.
Regardless of my love of reading, being unable to get up and walk around because of the pain becomes very tiresome. It can really chew out and completely ruin your self-respect, and any dignity you wish to maintain. There are days when it's practically impossible to cook because I haven't washed any dishes for the past while. There have been days when I couldn't even walk to the bathroom. Andrew had to carry me. For a girl who loves to dance about, bake, pretty and tidy up, be productive, and fulfill her duties and responsibilities, this has been a difficult time for me.
But I don't hate my miserable life. In fact, I'm a happy woman.
We therefore have a question before us: "Why on earth do you draw such ridiculous pictures and write such brilliantly bizarre blog posts if you're hurting and/or feeling like a lazy scumbag? And how do you manage to find so many funny things?"
Because it makes me happy. That's why. Especially when people look at those posts and laugh, or think, or smile, or pass it on. It makes me feel productive. But more about that productivity stuff in another post. This post is about managing to find the happiness that is all around you, just waiting to be seen and felt.
The answer is in three little words. Faith. Hope. Charity. I'm going to go in reverse order.
Charity. How can you ever be happy when you're sitting around thinking about all of the downers in your life? How can you be happy when you focus on your messy living room, unshaved legs, nasty hair, immobility, and that very empty candy bag? (Well, the candy bag being empty may have cheered you up while you were emptying it into your mouth, but having that candy go to your thighs is not pleasant.) I'll tell you what, you can't. You can't be happy when you focus on that. You have to focus your attention on other people. Find out what makes them happy, and celebrate with them. Find out what's making them sad, and search for a way to make it better. Start with your spouse, your family, your roommates, whoever is closest to you. Serve them. It will make your life light up like a Christmas tree, each time you leave a plate of cookies on a doorstep, sit down and have a chat with someone lonely, or give someone a can of soup when they're ill, another little bulb on your strand of lights clicks on, bringing in a happy color, and a happy bit of dimension to your view on life.
Hope. Faith and hope are so connected, so intertwined. I have hope that tomorrow will be better than today. I hope that I can do better today than yesterday. A better wife, a better friend, a better person, a better Natashya. I have hope. And not just the kind of hope that involves wishing for the snow to go away, or that my pick for the NCAA bracket will win (which they won't, since they've already lost. Whoops.). My hope is an expectation. I expect that my circumstances will get better. I am doing everything that I can to improve my situation, and I have faith that everything will work out. Even if my body continues to hurt, I know that my actions can better my life before I'm healed. I can still find ways to make today better, to get closer to my goals. With my mother's help, I made a schedule. I work on something different every day. If I don't get everything checked off the list, that's alright. I'm still a good person. I tried. And because I'm continuing to try, and because I have a wonderful husband who does so much to help and lift me, and because I have a loving Savior, everything really will be just fine.
Faith. The Lord is omniscient and omnipotent. He is also full of mercy and love. Having faith in His love, in His plan, in His timing will help you to get through the darkest moments. The Savior went through the agony of Gethsemane because of His love for us, and because of that suffering, He can not only cleanse our sins, but also "bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound" (Isaiah 61:1). Do you think that sins are the only chains which bind mankind? What about the chains of pain and suffering, both physical and emotional?
Jesus Christ can heal all wounds, for He understands all sorrows. "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief... Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, stricken of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:3-5). Jesus Christ gave His life for us, lives again for us, and desires to help us in all of our trials. He can heal all of our bruises and stripes. Remember to "cast your cares upon the Lord; for he careth for you" (1 Peter 5:7). He really does.
I don't generally share the glum side of life because there is so much more to rejoice in than to despair over. However, I thought that perhaps since we all have dark moments, maybe the things that I've been learning over the past year will be good for more than just me to know. I do know that there is a way to be happy, even when life is dark and difficult. I do know that I'm more blessed than even I realize sometimes. I do know that there is always a ray of light and hope that we can cling to, and that we can follow. Just hold on to Him, and everything is going to be alright.