I have been thinking a lot lately about joy. I've been faced with some very joyless people in the recent past and it really turned my curiosity on to what joy is and why we have it, or don't. We all know people, I'm sure, that are unhappy at their core. You know, those people who it is exhausting to be around for very long because it zaps out your own sense of well being and joy. Those people who are the victim of their own lives, who can't begin to find anything positive to speak about, walking around with a big gray cloud over their head, raining on everybody in their path.
I've been doing some reading, scripture searching and otherwise along with much prayer and pondering about this phenomenon of joylessness. What I've come to learn about joy is this; joy is a choice. Happiness comes from your own efforts and participation in your blessings. The old saying "it's not having what you want, it's wanting what you've got" is so true. I went to a gospel singing last night with my glorious family and I was moved in my soul to write about joy. There was a man there at the church who was very obviously physically, perhaps even mentally challenged. He sat in the pew in front of me, to my side, where I could see him singing, and was he ever singing. At first I was somewhat amused by this man, he was so joyfully participating in the song service that it tickled me a little... and then we began to sing a song that I've always loved, but somehow watching this man sing it, will forever be in my heart and memory. We were singing "What a Day That Will Be". Picture this man, singing from his soul, his body crippled, struggling just to move his mouth to the words and these were the words he was singing...
There'll be no sorrow there, no more burdens to bear, No more sickness, no pain, no more parting over there; and forever I will be with the one who died for me, What a day, glorious day that will be. What a day that will be, when my Jesus I shall see, And I look upon his face, the one who saved me by his grace; When He takes me by the hand, and leads me through the promise land, what a day, glorious day, that will be."
I was picturing this man on that day, whole and complete walking with Jesus by the river of life. My heart was so full of joy for this soul that I could hardly keep my seat. Then I thought that joy is just that, the love we have for each other. Jesus taught this over and over. That the greatest commandment is to love the Lord, and secondly to love your neighbor. I believe that if these two commandments are rigidly in place in your life, that joy will come naturally. I've never felt happy when thinking of myself, but only when busy with work and serving others. I thank God for giving me such a wonderful family to serve here at home, and I will be striving to serve with joy from now on.
These people that I was telling you about who are burdened with unhappiness were and are completely involved with only their selves. For it is when we think of ourselves only, that we begin to spiral down a vortex of pity and grief. I don't think that we can all be happy all the time. Sometimes things overwhelm us and we feel grief, even Jesus did. But the goal is to be a joyful person who occasionally feels sadness, not to be a grief stricken person who occasionally feels joy.
So, after all of this rambling, I hope that whoever reads this, whether your a joyful person or a joyless one, will be more diligent in their pursuit of happiness. It is our constitutional right, isn't it? I know that I am going to be actively striving to be joyful.