How to Hold Life’s Joys and Challenges at the Same Time + Birthday Card Winner
I want to share with you a little bit about how I have been growing to experience joy and sadness at the same time. It’s been a lifelong journey (not one I was thrilled to take), but this is where I’m at on the map.
There are probably no “proper” words to express how difficult some seasons can be, my husband Benjamin Hummel who is my business partner and an incredible artist and teacher has been fighting a very chronic auto-immune illness since he was born (PSC-IBD) and it has escalated into several surgeries this summer with many complications. Plus, at the same time, a few other very close family members have been having multiple heart surgeries and fighting cancer. Needless to say, it’s been absolutely exhausting for the patients going through this and their caretakers. There are so many things to talk about, consider, cry about and even rejoice in while going through such difficulty and pain.
You may be going through a challenge of your own and it’s difficult to know which way is up sometimes if you are honest. At least that’s how it’s been for me.
However, one amazing thing God has taught me this last year is how to hold sadness and joy at the same time.
I honestly didn’t use to think it was possible, but circumstances have required me to really look into this more. Because while we are dealing with life and death situations concerning his health, I have also had tremendous breakthroughs with opportunities to bring my art to the world in more ways than I could possibly imagine. (And this is coming from someone with a very wild imagination!)
This seriously caused me to ask myself some questions…
How can I be sad and happy at the same time? What would people think? Wouldn’t my joy betray my reason for sadness and my sadness betray my reason to be joyful? Why does this feel like such a challenge?
I am not sure. However, I have always loved that idea that there is a time and a season for everything under Heaven.
Sometimes those times can be minutes and days crushed up against one another. And that’s just how it is.
So, on the heels of finding out that they want to give Benjamin another liver transplant since the one he had as a teen seems to be failing (long, long story… you are welcome to watch the video here), I have been working with some amazing companies to develop exciting new fashion accessories, home decor and gift products that will be making their way to market in the coming months and years.
And then the art licensing group that I am honored to lead, ran a Birthday Greeting Card Art Challenge with DESIGN DESIGN® this summer and just found out that my card was top 6 challenge winner! (Check out some of the stellar designs below, I am honored to be in this grouping of talented artists.)
Another thing that helps is the pure joy of knowing that every day is a gift and taking the time to physically breathe in that gift is of vital importance.
How do I do it? I believe in taking it one moment at a time and leaning on the goodness of my Maker who is more loving and stronger than I am. That helps me be and do what I need to at any given moment. I get through each day knowing that at the end of the day, even if the worst thing I fear happens, I will be OK (at some point in the future) because I am wrapped in an unconditional love that transcends all time and trouble.
And, guess what! It’s OK to embrace joy, even in the ER room. It’s good to make the Drs and nurses chuckle while they are doing their best to keep my husband stabilized. (Mainly Benjamin is the one cracking the jokes, that’s one of the reasons I love him so much is his ability to embrace humor through thick and thin.)
A little laughter diffuses a lot of stress.
I also try to remember that, for the most part, people are doing their best. Giving an unmeasured amount of grace to any situation is essential… because things do go wrong. But in God’s grace, they eventually go right again, too. We just need to be very patient and keep our eyes peeled.
By the way, you know life is a gift when you were told by the Drs that there was no hope for survival. That happened to Benjamin just before his last transplant at age 16 and he just celebrated another birthday this month 26 years later! And this week we celebrated 18 years since he asked me to marry him. I still say “yes” and “I do!”
So cheers to another day to celebrate being alive and a pretty little card I designed that reminded me that it’s OK to embrace multiple emotions at the same time.
Beloved, do you have a story of how you deal with happy and sad things that come to you at the same time? I’d love to read about it in the comments here or in our private Something To Cherish Facebook Group (mention this blog when you sign up so I know it’s you!)
A LITTLE HEATH NOTE: So many people ask me about this and are eager to share their health knowledge so I thought I’d cover this here. There are many modes of healing available out there and we live in an amazing time where we can find the best remedies from around the world. We do and have been seeking out the best medical wisdom, Western, Eastern, traditional, non-traditional for the past 20 years. We believe in an integrated and holistic approach to healthy living. We read a lot of clinical research papers and our Drs are top-notch and working with the latest research and consulting the Mayo Clinic. Benjamin is actually a pretty well-known transplant survivor and has been discussed and highlighted at major medical conferences, so we must be doing something right. ;) Let me know if you want to read more about what we have found that makes a difference, we have a lot to share especially regarding liver health. As Benjamin always says, “If you want to be a-liver, you need to take care of your liver!” I told you he has a funny bone. ;)
What a beautiful post…it is hard to wrap our minds around being joyful in the midst of painful situations. I am so thankful for God’s love. You and Benjamin are in my prayers. Thank you for all you do for the art licensing community and ALSC, and congratulations on your new opportunities.