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  • Writer's pictureSarahHauer

Teddy Bear

Humor In Chaos

Searching for Joy


Teddy Bear


This essay series isn’t of my novels, made stories about fictional characters. This is my life. This is about the lives of my family members. This is truth from my perspective, and they have their own perspectives. Writing this is not comfortable. I need the comfort of a teddy bear as I navigate these paragraphs.

This series has some serious potential pitfalls. There are a lot of people I love who could be affected by the ripple effects of what I publish. At the same time, I cannot allow those potential ripple effects prevent me from telling the truth because there are also ripple effects that I pray help others find their joy. I am opening myself up and trusting you to give me space to express without fear of attack, not me or them. If you don’t like it, then please, don’t continue. These are sensitive topics.

In my novels, I try to write from the aspect of the Catholic author, Flannery O’Conner – Christian Realism: the perspective that life is real. Christian life isn’t a fairy tale existence. Sometimes it’s downright ugly. And God is in every aspect of it, even the painful.


I’ve gotten requests from people who follow my story to please write a book about my experiences. Some of them for good reasons. Some just want me to spill gossip about the demise of my marriage. It’s way too easy to turn this into gossip. I need to work against that as much as possible. My ex-husband is a real human with real feelings. He deserves respect as a child of God and as the father of my children, just as I deserve respect from him. And my children deserve the peace of not having their experienced plastered all over the internet or anywhere else. So I am proceeding with the intent to balance sharing and protecting.

I wrote an article back in July, 2016 at I time when I was severly ill with lupus. I wrote quite a few articles over the years expressing sincere gratitude towards family and friends for their support of me when my health was bad. When I wrote it, I was sitting in my bed crying with the deepest gratitude towards my husband. I was grateful not only for the care he was giving me, but also for the Godly example he set for our children on how to love another person unconditionally.

On that day, not only was I upstairs sick in bed, where I spent most of my days those challenging years, but my husband was downstairs sick with the flu. He was terribly ill. He refused to share the bed with me because with lupus my immune system is crap. He didn’t want to expose me to his virus. In that moment, he was in worse shape than I was.

What is one of the benefits of a healthy marriage? Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up. Again, if two lie together, they are warm; but how can one be warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.

In the article, I wrote about how I thought on that passage and got out of bed. I made my painful way slowly down the stairs to the kitchen to make him a bowl of chicken noodle soup and chicken flavored crackers. He used to love those when he was not feeling well. I put them all on a tray for him and attempted to figure out how to take them to him in the living room without exposing myself to that virus.

That’s when our teenaged son walked in the house to save the day. He delivered the tray for me while stating, “That’s the kind of marriage I want to have someday. When one is down, the other steps up.” My heart was so full of gratitude for my husband for being the amazing father and man that he was.

Except, now, I don’t know if he was. I look at that article today with 20/20 hindsight and think, “No. It was all a lie.”

Was it all a lie? Maybe? Maybe not? I don’t know. Is hindsight trying to give me a clearer picture, or am I rewriting history to make me feel better about the ending of my marriage? Was his care of me out of guilt, not out of love or marital vows, or devotion to God as I believed then? Is there a way for me to know? Should I know?

In light of new facts and innuendoes that keep trying to come to me from multiple sources, can I maintain the forgiveness I have already given him? Facts are good, until there are too many.

I have forgiven him. I have forgiven him multiple times. As new information comes at me, I have to keep forgiving him over again. I am at risk of forgiveness fatigue. New information won’t serve me or my family anymore.

As I was inundated with each new trial, I learned that I have the capacity for resilience few have. I have watched others who journeyed along with me during those trials fall away while I kept moving forward onto the next one. I may have been born with resilience and a large capacity for joy to some degree, but mostly I cultivated it, nourished it, and exercised it through these trying years of illness, betrayal, and divorce.


I think what sets me apart from most people is that I knew joy was still possible both during and after those difficulties. Having joy isn’t a talent. It’s a state of being not dependent on circumstances. Even though I knew that, it was still remarkably difficult to find.

There wasn’t some magic meme or bible verse or TedX talk that gave me the fortitude to keep searching. I did use a lot of those. Mostly, it was an accumulation of intentional thoughts with the guidance of a good therapist, a good life coach, a good support network, and small changes that added up to big things in my emotional well-being.  

Joy is possible after years of turmoil and heartbreak. I have found joy again. It didn’t come on its own. There was a path to get there, through the pain, not after it. Life is about the journey, not the destination. Joy is the travel companion. Joy is a gift from God to take with you like a cozy teddy bear on a rainy day. Reach out for it. It’s right there on the shelf next to that teddy bear gathering dust.

Thanks for reading!



Humor In Chaos


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