A couple of days ago I was up early reading and drinking of the coffee. In “The Book of Joy” the first several chapters is a beautiful ebb and flow conversation between the writers. They are discussing life and how to find joy in the pain and the beauty this world creates. The second half of the book is the eight pillars of joy broken down into more detail. The first pillar is perspective.

As I read through their ideas to change one’s perspective I felt a sense of comfort in what I was reading. I was taught to think about the other person and how they feel. To think about what I say from the perspective of it being said to me. I spend time with my children teaching them the same.

One thing I would say I haven’t mastered is changing my perspective on the day to day situations. Frustrations like finances and parenting stresses. One thing I stress over is my children’s education. I watch them carefully and pray over their minds. I worry that what I have chosen to use to teach them isn’t good enough, that I am not good enough to be their teacher and some days even their mother.

These three are fantastic, and they are ridiculous and brilliant. Some days from my perspective, homeschooling them and the responsibilities that come with that is heavy. At times it can send my self-destructive habits on a runaround.

On the first of February, I was reading about changing my perspective and felt a pull that I should spend more time on this. If I hope to build a habit of pulling back and widening my perspective, I should spend a lot more time meditating on this concept. I realized it was the first of the month. I would add an emoji here to tell you how excited I was only this is formal writing, and that’s frowned on so consider what your favorite smiling emoji is and insert it here____.

Needless to say, I felt inspired.

When the sun rose on January 1′ 2017, I felt the pull on my heart to create joy. The Spirit of Truth whispered sweetly into the deep of my soul that life will change when I focus on creating joy. I spent the last month finding ways to do just that. This month I will widen my perspective, and I will meditate on seeing life through the eyes of others.

The first thing I have chosen to work on, during this month of redirecting my point of view, is the perspective from which I look at my painful memories. I want to take the wrong and think of everything good that has come out of it.

It isn’t a difficult thing to do from a distance. Looking back at something that has caused me or someone I love pain to see the good that has come after it is a lot easier then to calmly look at it in progress with a hope that good may come out of it.

This is what I have spent the last couple of days breathing in.

Caleb and I have spent many hours talking about this over the last eight years. After his mom passed away the pain rushed in, and life was lived under water for years. We felt that occasionally we came up for air and then we would be dragged back down. However, year after year we noticed it became easier to breathe and less time was spent under the heaviness of her loss.

Now, years later, we see so many beautiful things that have taken place only because she is gone. As painful as that is, its true.

My sweet husband would not have left his sick mother to move to Tennessee to pursue his passion for art by becoming a tattoo artist.

We most definitely would not have had the pleasure to love LaDonna. She has taken our hearts and served us with her love.

Thousands of little moments that would have never happened and lessons of faith and hope would have had to be learned in other ways.

Knowing now that although we miss her everyday life would not be the way it is now. Would we own the tattoo studio? Would my sweet little niece be here? Would I have learned that I am stronger than I thought and that grief doesn’t leave, but it does change?

I am at the beginning of meditating on perspective. I am only days into my practice, but I am feeling hopeful for the process.

May you too take a moment to widen your view, think out how the future could unfold based on what you know about the joys you encountered from pains that are distant now.