Ever since I wrote in my last blog post about Joy, it has been at the forefront of my mind. It has also been featured in many of the conversations that I have had with the people in my life. As I said, the idea of looking for joy in my life takes two forms. The first is noticing the joy in the world around me. The second is intentionally doing things that I know bring me joy.
I’ve been questioned especially about the first of those. How can I find joy in the world around me when there is so much sadness, so much sorrow, so much anger, so much hate, so much injustice? I’m not a Pollyanna, who turns a blind eye to suffering and tries to pretend that all is sweetness and light. I see the truth of what is going on in our world.
But, as a part of that truth, I also see the simple kindness of one person holding the door for another. I see someone helping an elderly woman into her car at church. I see the person who takes the time to answer a question from a small child. I hear the sincere, “Hello. How are you?” asked of the lonely widow by the busy friend who stops to speak anyway. I see smiles on the faces of strangers, just trying to make the world a little brighter. And I witness, more often than you might think, someone helping the poor and needy – offering the price of a much-needed meal or a ride when it’s cold outside. I see those same people reaching out to take the hand of someone that many would consider untouchable. Perhaps most importantly, I see those people lend a listening ear to someone who is rarely heard in our society.
All of these things bring me joy. Even more, they bring joy to the people who are reaching out in kindness to another person. Witnessing this reminds me that there is good in the world today, and it challenges me to embrace that goodness and to become more like these people. So, my resolve is to let my joy lead me to be that kind of person. I resolve to reach out to those around me in kindness. Not all of us can make grand gestures, but all of us can do something! I will keep speaking, keep smiling, keep touching those around me. I will listen to the voiceless, help those in need, and always, always share the joy of Christ within me.
That, my friends, is how I see joy in the world we live in. And I am determined never to stop seeing it or participating in it. I believe it is what Christ teaches in John 15:11-12. Our joy will be full and complete when we love others the way Christ loves us.
(And then there’s music! I resolve to listen to more music, because it brings me joy, too!)