May – Love. Writing that one was like paddling down a gentle river, easy and peaceful.
June – Joy. Number two on the Fruits of the Spirit list. I honestly thought this one would be pretty easy too……….
The first thing that came to mind while pondering this post is that we all have moments that no one else sees – the moments when we are all alone and see or do something hilarious and immediately feel the need to tell someone……….or how about those times where we see or experience something that is so awe inspiring that it fills the heart and soul with pure bliss? Then there are the spontaneous antics of small children that can elicit smiles instantly………..all of these things are so marvelous!
So, is that Joy? Nope, it’s happiness. Both happiness and Joy are marvelous gifts that I cherish. However, they are not the same – and Joy trumps happiness…………I had the whole concept somewhat muddled – using the terms interchangeably – which is why I was struggling to write. It has been wonderfully rewarding to take a second look at this. On the surface, it seemed pretty simple………not so much.
Happiness is visitational, transient, fleeting – my daughter said a couple days ago that happiness is when something “happins”………. get it? 🙂 And happiness is so wonderful. Joy is also wonderful…………….but it never wavers……….it is the steady inward feeling of hope that accompanies peace. Nice.
Here are some recent examples of experiences that gave me wonderful moments of happiness:
- Blossoms showing up on the blackberry bush on my fence – from one little plant given to me by a sweet friend just last year!!
- A two-year-old exclaiming, “Grampy, you just saved my day!”
- Planting corn in our garden and seeing our son roll his eyes at how silly that is.
- Watching an infant’s ‘full body light up’ when his parents come in the room.
- Hearing an eight and seven-year-old sing a duet about the Fruits of the Spirit.
- Being told by my sweet granddaughter that she really wants to sign up for the reading program at our church and spend a day a week with me all summer long.
- Jamaica…………..once you go, you know………
- Planning a sojourn back to Maine in September.
- Helping a sister write what I think is the best haiku ever written, dedicated to my sweet sister Grace – and seeing the nicest little tear in my brothers’ eyes when we read the poem aloud.
Then there is Joy………..so peaceful and enduring. It is present even when I am sad or hurting. Joy shows up more like this:
- Standing on top of a mountain by myself in Colorado with a big grin on my face, proclaiming “I am free; I am loved; I am forgiven!”
- Choosing “It is well with my soul” as the song to accompany my Mother’s Day post on “Love”.
- Meeting up with an old friend in the grocery store who has been walking through a very trying time, talking for a bit, affirming our faith, and then hugging goodbye, saying to each other, “God is good”.
- Sitting back on my haunches in the garden and just smiling at the wonder of my blessed life – quietly saying thank you for my answered prayers.
- Music – with it’s power to, over and over and over, remind me of the enduring Joy within.
Speaking of music………….hmmmmm………also thought it would be pretty easy to find the right song about Joy….. Three Dog Night is still one of my favorite musical groups, so their version of ‘Joy to the World’ should work……….(are you starting to hum “Jeremiah was a bullfrog” yet?) Oh, and there is the Christmas song we all know and love by the same title, which fits the theme here a bit better, eh?
Anyway, I decided to look a little farther and I am so glad I did!!. Here is a new song that just makes me smile…………I am very happy to have found this song. I hope you feel the same way, and I also hope it taps into your Joy like it did for me.