Sunday, July 11, 2010


Tell me about a moment of joy in your life.  When is the last time you laughed so hard your sides hurt?  When was the last time you dared to lose control and let joy take you by the hand and lead you to renew your heart?

Sometimes these illustrious, ecstatic moments of joy come when we least expect them, in the middle of an ordinary day or maybe in an extraordinary experience.  Each of us find these moments of joy and unexpected exuberance in different places and times. We find them in celebrations and gatherings, of course.  But what if we were to stop expecting the big moments of joy and learn to experience daily unexpected moments of joy?  Dancing in the living room after dinner with a special person, setting the dinner table with your best china for no reason, telling a waitress, who is less than exemplary, that she is doing fine when she is fumbling to do her best. Joy can be found in a myriad of places like sipping coffee in the country looking up at the stars and moon just before the sun rises.  Spread it, share it, bathe in it, jump into the middle of it, and shout it from the roof tops. It is contagious, and it is addictive!

I am actively working on this! I am not always successful, but I too am a work in progress.   Today I had one of several moments of joy when I went to the mail box and found a handwritten letter from my adopted sister and dear friend deployed to Iraq.  A handwritten letter!  The envelope says ARMY STRONG and displays silhouettes of soldiers holding their weapons.  Just to see her handwriting on paper made me feel closer to her.  This was a moment of joy. 

Moments later I logged on to begin drafting this entry and found a comment posted from a soldier that I love dearly.  Her comment is below under "How Do We Know If We Make a Difference."  Reading this was another moment of joy. 

The third was in an email from the volunteer coordinator at Lackland AFB Fisher House, giving us future dates when we are needed with our therapy dogs.  There seems to be a special airman there that needs some unconditional and non-judgmental pet therapy.  Nothing more was said.  I accepted.  I found joy in this because what we are doing, what our dogs bring to those in critical need, is extraordinary. It is working and I find this enormously rewarding.

Joy is opening up your heart and your eyes and seeing in color.  Suddenly, when you least expect it life is alive and you are awake.  And you are experiencing joy.

Real joy is a choice. Oriah Mountain Dreamer says in The Mountain, "Joy finds us when we feel the elation that comes when we know that we belong - to another, to ourselves, to the world, to the mystery that is larger than ourselves." 

Sometimes it is most difficult to find joy in the difficult times of life.  Perhaps this is because we don't know how.  And for some, joy scares us more than pain.  Some are more accustomed to pain. It feels more comfortable.  We become so used to disappointments that we come to anticipate failure and lack of joy. 

Oriah says, "The enemy of joy is the litany of "not good enough" that picks at what is or might be, finding the imperfections, real or imagined."  Perfectionism can tear at what is imperfect but whole, until the whole is in pieces.  Many run toward disappointment in an effort to avoid the pain of being sideswiped by an unanticipated letdown.  It is just one more way of being in control.

To feel joy we have to trust.  We have to trust the moment with open arms, as we acknowledge that we are not in control and accept it. And we have to feel worthy of having joy in our life!

We need to learn to expect joy and in so doing our souls will flourish. 

For me, finding what I was made for in that place inside me and finding that place where I belong is joy.


"The most significant gifts are often the ones most easily overlooked.  Small, everyday blessings, woods, health, music, laughter, memories, books, family, friends, second chances, warm fireplaces and all the footprints scattered thought our days."
~Sue Monk Kidd

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