We can’t always predict which turn’s life will take. Many times the journey life carry’s us on require detours down dark, sometimes even tragic, disastrous, calamitous, and yes catastrophic roads. Our paths may be obstructed; the roads uneven and gloomy. Finding joy in the midst of our fears can almost be overwhelming if we're really being honest. Life, on any given day can be overtaken by ominous dark clouds but that doesn’t mean our joy is gone. There are days when the happiness we expected to experience has gone MIA. For one reason or other happiness can be lost, misplaced, or simply buried under a mound of difficulties. The thing about joy is it’s never really lost. Sure we may think joy has disappeared but the truth is joy is always inside us, we just have to choose to unwrap it. The quality joy offers us is deeper than anything happiness can ever offer. The reality is happiness is an automatic emotion to something we think is good for us. The hard part about our emotions is they come and go but joy is a constant.
Life Lesson #13 is about finding JOY in the Journey, learning to slow down and take one day at a time.
The pursuit of happiness without joy tends to lead us into rushing through life, expecting happiness in every moment, in every place and in everyone we attach ourselves to. But that’s not what joy is all about. Joy requires self-control, gratitude and the ability to accept both the good and bad life throws our way, to see the humanness of those who travel this dirt road with us. I may not always experience happiness, but I always have joy. Joy is part of who I am and who I have become. Our family of four hasn’t always found happiness in every path we’ve taken but in every direction we’ve gone, we have experienced joy. Some paths are harsh, and in the final goodbyes, we take away bits and pieces of truths, lessons learned. Our strength and ability to laugh in spite of hardships is not something we do, it’s apart of us, rooted deep inside the knowledge joy has ownership over all our other emotions. True we aren’t always happy, we struggle through bad days, we argue, disagree around here but at the end of the day laughter and love are the roots of our family’s existence. Happiness isn’t what brings us together, joy is. No matter what we have been through or will eventually go through the one constant our family has is the knowledge joy will always blow away a down right terrible, rotten, bad day.
What I find so sad about the world we live in these days is how we have lost sight of the things which really matter. We are so busy looking for happiness, trying to find ourselves; pushing to the front of the line we neglect the essence of contentment. We don’t have to fit in, to be like the rest of the world, we can let go of our insecurities and unhappiness if we’d just open up our eyes to joy as a real possibility. What our little family has learned from our journey is this: joy is not something we have to dig up or cash in on, instead joy is a gift, beautiful and free, offering us hope, faith, peace, love and yes happiness in its truest form. Joy sees our anxious hearts, and sustains us through every dark path life takes us down. With joy, even when sadness is banging on the door, we can smile. Joy helps us hang on, lighting up our souls when the night falls. Joy finds us at our weakest point and lifts us up, translating this crazy world for us.
At the end of the day, joy breathes new life back into us. I am thankful for this precious family of mine. Joy reminds me daily how blessed I am in spite of the heartache of disease, the lost breast, lost family, and all the scars and broken promises of yesterday. By the grace of God I have been found and brought in from the cold, healed from the wounds of bitterness. I have been given a family, strong and forgiving, a life though not perfect is amazingly beautiful. With joy I know happiness, pure and unfiltered!