Embracing Pleasure

When you die God and the angels will holdyou accountable for all the pleasures you were allowed in this life that you denied yourself. –Anonymous

This quote is taped to my refrigerator to remind me of my new goal: Embracing Pleasure. Like a lot of moms in today’s society I let pleasure escape my life. I developed guilt over taking opportunities for myself to feel fulfilled, especially if it cost money or time that could be devoted to family. Over the last year I began to realize that I could not and should not allow this deprivation to happen. Not only is it detrimental to my state of self, but it is not what God intended for me when He gave me this wonderful family.

We have all heard that we can be better moms and wives by taking care of ourselves first. But, at least for me, this is easier said than done. When I first read that quote, I was finally getting to a point where I realized how much I had been denying myself, and how angry and frustrated it was leaving me. To think that God is wondering why I am denying myself the happiness and pleasure that He is putting here for me was a wake up call. I imagined that each and every day tiny moments of pleasure are being laid before me, but I am being too stoic and noble in my quest for pleasing my family to notice them and participate. Not only is this unfair to myself, but in the end it is unfair to the loving God who has provided these moments for my pleasure. I wouldn’t turn away a gift from a friend or relative, and yet every day I’ve been turning away from the biggest

gift of all – myself. Whether it was skipping haircuts or putting cleaning the house ahead of taking a walk, or refusing to go see a movie because that $5.50 could go toward something (what I don’t know) for my husband or son’s happiness, I was denying my God given right to have pleasure!

Once I realized what had been going on, I resolved to make some changes. I am determined to live a happy and fulfilled life within myself. Happiness comes in so many forms when you start looking for it. I have decided to force myself to go ahead and do and enjoy some things I wouldn’t have before. If the sun is shining on my cleaning day, I take a walk and clean the house later. Since the only thing I enjoy about dinnertime is being with my family, I finally feel it’s ok if once in awhile we have waffles! I have put in the budget to get my haircut twice a year, and I’m going to stick to it. I have discovered that being in the city is one of my greatest joys, and so I am going to go once a month – no matter what.

I am making these big and small commitments to myself, and as I stick to them I discover joy all around me. The other day I was driving when I saw a young man with jeans around his knees on the corner swinging his arms in the air. Normally I would have averted my eyes but on this day I took a closer look, saw the earphones he was wearing and the look of shear joy on his face as he sang and danced. A smile crossed my face to see such unhidden joy! He was expressing what I am beginning to feel!

I have learned that in no way did denying myself joy and pleasure increase these things in the lives of those around me. Pleasure is a gift given openly. There are no strings attached, no guilt, and no reasons to deny it. Slowly I am learning to re-embrace

pleasure and joy for myself. Slowly I am rediscovering my right to sheer happiness within myself. And you know what, the saying is true, it does make you a better wife and mother!

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About Colleen Kappeler