Wednesday, January 26, 2011
I have read a lot of blog posts, articles, and devotionals about joy lately. Instead of feeling encouraged, or resolved to chose joy in my own life, I have been left full of questions. This is through no fault of any ones, it is my own response to things I have read. This morning, as I took my walk across fog shrouded fields, I gave the questions full vent. How can I have joy, I questioned, when all around me is stress and sorrow? My beloved father is dead, my dear mother in a perpetual fog, I had to sell jewelry to buy groceries. I am barely holding it all together, so busy I am not doing anything well. I have no time to cultivate a new habit, no desire to add one more thing to my endless list. I can't even lose that last 20 pounds of baby weight. As I paused at our little lake to take full measure of it's beauty, I was struck by a thought. I was looking at all of the reasons I could not be joyful, and not all of the reasons I have to be filled with joy. Wasn't my father an excellent father, of whom I have no unpleasant memories? Isn't my mother still dear and sweet and an amusing companion? Should I not be joyful that I had jewelry to sell, and happy that I am needed by so many people right now? I realized that a lack of joy is also a lack of gratitude, and if I am not full of thanksgiving for what I do have, I am in a very sorry state indeed. I also came to the conclusion that joy is not just one more thing to do, not another item on a check list. It is a response. It takes no more time to respond to the circumstances in my life with joy than it does to respond with a sigh, rolled eyes, and a muttered "Now what?" I can still feel the sorrow that my father (and Steven, Arlie, and Grandma Lucille) is/are dead. But, now is the time to look forward with joy!