“I bring you good news of great joy, that will be for all the people.”
After three days of thick fog, and pondering thoughts of joy, for the third Advent-ure, I realized that England or Vancouver are not ideal places for me to live. Three days of fog was enough to diminish the joy I’d been working on.
Is my Joy up to me? While I believe I have a part to play, surely I cannot be sole source of my joy. What is joy? I combined my ideas with Kay Warren’s and Theopedia’s to define joy as a (positive)state of mind and orientation of the heart,(theopedia) brought about because of the settled assurance that I am not in control of all details of my life (God is); this brings a confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright. (Warren)
Joy is hard to find and easy to lose.
What are the big joy snatchers? We each have our own as our individuality plays a part. Over time, I have learned which things trigger me, but oh these thieves are deceptive sneaky little buggers. And then guilt tags along to remind me that I should be more joyful, I should be more grateful. And I want to tell him where to go, but initially his familiar voice lures me into guilt’s downward spiral.
That negative list is easy to focus on. Richard Rohr says that “True joy is harder to hold onto than anger or hatred.” I can attest to that, even shallow joy passes that test.
Stress, which for me includes technology glitches, erodes my joy.
Relationship glitches/misunderstandings between people I care about is another joy thief.
What are my Joy Practices?
Walking is a good antidote for me.
My Mop/Mind of Peace helps me get to where I want to go.
Looking outward and inward to find joy.
This week I had several joy moments, the little moments of daily joy.
Listening to great music with a friend, getting outdoors, and the greatest gift of Joy this past week came through a Christmas drama Friday night.
I had to drive a half hour in barely-could-see-the-lines fog to get to the theatre. Had I not invited two friends along, I would have stayed home. When we found our seats, we wondered if we had carried the fog inside. Machine produced haze created the ambiance. The drama was one of the most creative, artistic re-telling of the Christmas story I’d ever experienced. Moved to tears several times, as the dancers, actors, narrators, and musicians carried me along the backdrop story to show the birth of love and mercy at Christmas. The phenomenal opening and closing scenes included an aerial ring acrobat, a mini Cirque du Soleil style performance. The artist changed from a silver body suit in the opening, to a red one in the finale, while the chorus sang about Unspeakable Joy. Something in my heart shifted.
Simone Weil has said that two things pierce the soul, beauty and affliction. This red dancer was beauty in the midst of suffering. This pictured for me the Joy that comes in both the morning, and the mourning. It comes as the spirit is invited in.
Saturday, as I set out for my walk, the local fog finally lifted, revealing stunning hoarfrost on all the trees. This reminded me of the people walking in darkness metaphor, of seeing a great light. When the fog lifts, joy like the hoarfrost covers everything in its path … even the garbage.
And I am humbly reminded of my fridge magnet –Take my advice, (apparently) I’m not using it 🙂