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Are you joyful?

     I was reading about the disciples of Christ spreading the gospel—with great joy—and it occurred to me that I didn't know what joy was, or more to the point, hadn't thought about it. Which was strange because all my life I've been a Pollyanna, an optimist in the worst of times even. So much so that as a little girl, my mother called me her "cheerful cheer-up."

     Besides that, there's a saying on my bathroom wall—right where you can't miss it when you're seated—that proclaims, "Happiness is a way of life."

     Okay. Point made. The second point is—I come from a British, Irish background, with more of the stoic Brit in me than the Irish.  . . um, what are the Irish known for? Hold on. . .

     Oh, wow! "The so-called Irish temperament is a mixture of flaming ego, hot temper, stubbornness, great personal charm and warmth, and a wit that shines through adversity." Compliments of Arlene Stafford Wilson, WordPress

     Guess I got some of that, too. Mainly the stubbornness. . . I am really getting off the subject here. I was trying to make the point that I'm not an emotional person. Which gets me to what hit me when I read about the joyfulness of the disciples.

     Joy? Don't think I've ever felt joyful. Happy, yes. Joyful? Hmmm. . .That's a lot more powerful than being happy. The next morning I woke up and remembered joy. Joy! I thought about it. How was it different from the happy, happy I've always tried to be? Here's what I came up with: "Joy is to happiness as a good belly laugh is to a smile."

     I'm quoting me there. And I have to admit, I haven't had a good belly laugh. . . ever? You know, the one where you can't talk because it makes you laugh harder and then you start snorting and that makes you laugh harder and. . .

     Oh I wish I could do that. I love when Paul does it. His belly really shakes with it, too. I don't know where I'm going from here except I'm thinking joy is going to have to be it for me. I can do that. I just have to remember to feel the joy in spite of whatever's going on that's maybe not what I wish were going on. Instead of just being happy, I can be joyous.

     After a few days, I realized that to feel the fullness of joy, I have to be at peace in my soul or mind or whatever you want to call it. And then—then—love would be the other ingredient I'd need if I wanted to be truly joyful. So that's what I'm working on.

     It's not easy with all that's going on in our world. I have to focus on my own world, what I have every day: my family, my home, my friends. It helps that I have good health and feel young and love the beauty of outdoors, especially the sky with its shifting, puffy and streaky clouds, with its deepest blue color on cloudless days, with the full moon, the crescent moon, the planets and stars, and the lights of planes gliding by overhead—and of course, the songbirds.

     I could go on, but I've overstayed my welcome already so I'll stop here and toss a handful of joy to you and hope you catch it.

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