Hopefully this will be the first of many, and after a while I won’t just be talking to myself.  Having been an avid follower of several friends’ blogs I was beginning to feel like I was being rude and hogging space in their ‘patch’, and I should pipe down a bit.  So now I’ve got a wee ‘patch’ of my own which you are welcome to come and hog space on any time!!!

I’ve found myself thinking about joy a lot over the last wee while.  What is it?  When have I experienced it?  When have I seen it in others?  So here’s a quick list of things that fill me with joy, in no particular order:

  • The sea.  Weirdly enough I also find the sea pretty scary, but that childhood ‘whoosh’ of excitement and the sheer wonder of seeing an expanse of ocean appear on the horizon has never gone away.  It’s beautiful, thrilling and I love knowing that it’s there even when I’m not.

 

  • My daughter.  I suppose this is a kind of obvious one for a parent to include, but it’s still true.  The other day I suggested we had our tea as a picnic in the garden and her face was a picture to behold.  Perhaps that was a joyful moment for her too.

 

  • My husband.  Maybe another obvious one… spending life together, growing up and growing older together, watching him as he uses his many gifts and how that brings him fulfillment – all these things are a long-lasting source of joy to me.

 

  • My faith.  I’m a Christian, a follower of Jesus, however you want to frame it.  This has been the direction of my life since I was in my mid-teens, and remains the most challenging, amazing, terrible, and beautiful thing that has ever happened to me.  I don’t think I’m a great example of a Christian, and yet the constant knowledge of the presence of God in my life and our world brings me joy.  Not in the more everyday sense of extreme happiness, but more as a kind of underpinning love and wonder and peace that continues through everything that happens.  I know some people will have lots of issues with that, but it remains true.

 

  • My job.  Although not all the time, because that would be plain peculiar!  However, most days of most weeks I am lucky enough to be part of something, or to see something which makes me realise what a difference small things can make to the lives of people who, for one reason or another, need some support and some sense of belonging.  Yesterday, I was working with a woman who has some difficulties with various aspects of her life.  She has been trying to learn to ride a bike, and mastered the basics some time ago in the space of a morning.  However, since then she’s struggled to overcome her fears of falling off when going down inclines, and her problems with co-ordination mean she is taking a while to mastering steering the bike accurately in small spaces.  Anyway, there I was encouraging, instructing and watching as she struggled and struggled.  It’s going to take a while to get past this stage, but I felt so honoured to be involved in her life at that point as she wrestled with her fears and her physical skills.  Joy, despite the struggle. 

Yesterday,  I was standing in the kitchen, drying a cup and mulling over something I’d read as I skimmed through a new book I’d got (“The Long Loneliness” by Dorothy Day). 

“We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.”

As I thought about this, it somehow just resonated so powerfully.  I found myself sobbing and smiling.  It felt like joy.

So, if anyone’s out there today, what does the word joy mean to you?  When do you experience it?  When do you see it around you?

 

 

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