Joy is to fun what the deep sea is to a puddle. It’s a feeling inside that can hardly be contained.
― Terry Pratchett,
Joy! That overwhelming happiness that makes you feel like your skin cannot contain your spirit. That word you cannot write without an exclamation point. What a blessing Joy! is!
But Joy! can be elusive. Where is it? What path do we take to get to it? How do we recognize it when we find it?
Come close, my dear friend. Let us go on the journey together.
The most important thing about Joy! is that it must be shared. A single person can be happy. He can be content. She can even be elated. But for any of those positive feelings to turn into real, true Joy! they must be shared with another soul.
Sometimes you travel the entire way with that person. When a husband and wife discover they are pregnant and must wait those eight months together, the birth of that child spins a cocoon of Joy! around them that glows with an almost blinding light from the power of their happiness.
When friends spend days, months, or years working toward a single goal, such as a graduation, their individual happiness at their own success is multiplied exponentially into sheer Joy! at their shared success. Do we not throw our hats into the air as one single organism, the graduating class? Do we not grab each other into bone-crushing hugs from the sheer overwhelming Joy! of the moment? Do we not have multiple celebrations to extend that powerful feeling just a little bit longer in the presence of those with whom we share it?
There are so very many experiences that bring us such Joy! Traveling together to marvel at the magnificence of snow-covered mountains like the Rockies, or human achievement like Neuschwanstein Castle, or the nearly impossible physical feats of Olympic athletes. Your heart skips a beat and your breath catches in your chest, and you reach for each other’s hand because you are over-Joyed! to the point of speechlessness.
Sometimes however, the road is one you must travel alone, and the Joy! comes from the sharing of your achievement at its end. Writing is a solitary business. You do have the companionship of your characters, but that is a different experience entirely, and a topic for another post. So with your eyes on the prize you press on, each word on the page bringing you one step closer to your goal. You finish. You write “The End.” You take a deep breath and nod “yes” as you sit staring at your final page. Is that Joy!? No. It is happiness. It is satisfaction. You run to your family and announce “It is done!” They hug you, they slap you on the back, they yell “Hurray!” and your spirit soars. You know Joy! You get that first review saying that someone else has loved it, and you know Joy!
- Peggy Mealor, 2nd Grade Teacher, Big Creek Elementary School: I started it yesterday and had to force myself to put it down only because it was way past my bedtime! It is truly a “page turner.”
- From amazon.com by Middle aged nerd I loved this book! It is an engaging read that will give respite to your weary soul.
- From amazon.com by Stephanie I’m a super slow reader, but I have read it cover to cover over the past week. I was never bored once and I could not put the book down.
- From amazon.com by Amazon Customer Mrs. Warstadt has created another meaningful story of mistakes, love, and forgiveness.
Joy! Joy! Joy!
Finally comes the one that can be the hardest to achieve. Joy! at the success of others. I think that some people do not ever experience this one because there are formidable barriers standing between them and it. Jealousy. The inability or unwillingness to experience something from someone else’s point of view. The “it’s all about me” attitude. Surrender these things, and you will find Joy! on the other side. Your spirit too can glow when you see the lights of elation in someone else’s eyes.
Joy! Give it to live it.
I wish you a Joy!-filled 2017!