What’s Joy Got To Do With It?

smelling tulipsSometimes we have the good fortune to know someone who makes the most of his/her life. A friend recently told me about her great aunt and how joyful she was. People filled her funeral to overflowing, and everyone told wonderful stories of how she touched their lives.

My first thought was, “I want that.” I want people to be so touched by my life that no matter how long I lived, the funeral home would be filled and my funeral procession would screw up Chicago traffic for hours. On second thought, it wouldn’t have to be very long at all.

Like a lot of my thoughts, I had no idea what it would really mean to live a life like my friend’s great aunt.

Finally one day it hit me. Making my life more meaningful will happen when I focus first on my own life, not someone else’s. Having a full funeral might be gratifying on some level, although I wouldn’t physically be there to enjoy it. And why would I want drivers to curse my funeral procession? The idea of living a life that touches others in meaningful ways has absolutely nothing to do with when I die.

At least for my friend’s great aunt, the key was joy. Living a joyful life was what touched others.

Hmmm. Joy. What if our purpose in life is to be joyful? Well, that takes away the idea of a vengeful God. What if the force in the universe (God or whatever you call “It”) isn’t vengeful, isn’t out to get you or me or anyone. What if “It” has your back? Then a joyful life makes sense; maybe it’s even required for a meaningful life.

I love to be joyful, to smile at dandelions and clouds in the sky. To wake up rested after a great night’s sleep. To taste that first sip of coffee in the morning. To hear the purr of my cat before I feel his warmth. To smell lilies and roses and hyacinths. To hug my children.

For me, joy and gratitude tie together. Both come easily when I’m savoring the moment. And when we string savored moments such as these together like pearls on a necklace, we see how meaningful are our lives.

I double dog dare you to find at least one thing today that brings you joy and to share it here, if you like.

This blog is intended to be gently thought-provoking. It is not intended to substitute for competent, professional, personalized therapy, coaching or consultation. If something you read here evokes a strong response that hinders your ability to cope with life, please seek professional help.
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