Let me spin a tale of joy for you.
In my latest writing assignment for the upcoming Holiday issue of an online modern home and family magazine Recipes for Good Living, I will share my recent venture to Kingston, Jamaica, using the theme of joy. If you know me personally or have followed my blog from the onset, then you do realize that this may prove to be a bit of a challenge, since I am not exactly a Hallmark ad of warm fuzzies or sentiments of bliss. But then again, misery has never found me to very good company either. I do have my happy moments.
But my experience with joy emanates from an indescribable place. Joy is described in Webster as an exultant happiness, rungs above simple gladness. We can be glad that our work day has ended and happy hour has begun. Or we may be happy to spend time with our family for the holidays or a weekend with good friends. But joy’s flame sparks, rises and spreads gradually; I don’t think it’s as recognizable as a hearty laugh or easy grin. It can exist without deliberate outward expressions and gestures. I like that joy can be described as quiet or unnamed if necessary. You don’t have to pinpoint the root of joy, while happiness or gladness is typically attributed to a particular event or interaction with another person.
Even in the worst of times, I have been able to recall moments of happiness or words of comfort that made me smile, but these now and then occurrences cannot sustain me and hold the bluest of my blues at bay. I need joy. Real joy. Pure sustenance. We all do. But we need to believe that we are worthy of that joy, giving us a foundation for joy to take hold within us and grow. Once joy roots within the soul, it does not ever leave, despite sorrow; hardship; anger or pain. It simply lies dormant, waiting to be revived once we recognize that our mind and body cannot feed off of agony forever and continue to survive. We have to give ourselves a moment of release – let ourselves off the hook. Your present outlook doesn’t define you or decide your place in this world.
Being happy does not make you a good person, and being unhappy doesn’t necessarily make you a bad one.
Picture yourself at different times in your life; have you always felt unhappy or sad? Or if you’re a fairly upbeat, cheery person, have you always felt this way? I don’t think anyone can honestly answer in the affirmative to either question. Therefore, my search reaches beyond simple delights or immediate pleasures; I reach for joy instead.
And sometimes, I find it. Last week, I awakened after a restless sleep and turned to watch my husband laying beside me. I know that it was a miracle that we found each other in this peculiar world. Two souls harboring their own jumbled lot of angels and demons and trying to walk the straight and narrow among a slew of crooked paths together. I reached for his hand and held it. Tightly. Despite everything, I still have a hand to hold in the morning and a shoulder to cry on at night. This is my joy. May you know yours…