It’s okay to feel joy

It’s okay to feel joy

“Weeping may tarry for the night

But joy cometh in the morning.”


For a parent living with a son or daughter on drugs, it is impossible to feel joy.

For years, I didn’t – or couldn’t.  When I tried to feel happy, thoughts of my son’s drug use erased all joy.

Days were devoted to working with colleagues at the hospital.  My job raising money brought relief and I focused only on the donor in front of me.   I could bury my feelings in work.

Or so I thought.

One spring the CEO took a group of senior employees on a two-day retreat.  To break the ice, she asked that we share something about our families.   I bit my lip as each VP took a turn.  There was a son’s acceptance to an Ivy League college, a daughter’s winning lacrosse goal, another son entering medical school.  Where was my child? Where was my joy?

Weeping tarried for the night.

Recently, a friend – whose son has had his own struggles with alcohol – announced that her boy was newly engaged.  I was thrilled.  But the mother seemed hesitant to accept my congratulations.

“Thank you, but you never know,” she said, her voice trailing off.

That’s what addiction can do.   It can rob us of the ability to feel anything, let alone joy.

Today my son, too, is engaged.   Years of working his recovery – and years of working my own – remind me that it’s not only okay to feel joy.  It’s what we are meant to do.

Joy cometh in the morning.

My son has earned it.

And I have, too.

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