Several times in the past few weeks I have been confronted with the word ‘joy’, used in different contexts, but it began the wheels spinning in my head. As I write these words, I am playing the Bach B minor Mass on my Ipod and wondering how music could be any more joyful. (Also thinking that I’ll bet there isn’t another person on the planet who is, at this moment, playing the B minor on their Ipod!) My musical tastes run to the classics and even to the Requiem Mass as inspiration for much of life, including writing. Can’t explain…it’s just me. But I digress.
Most of you know that the past three years have presented Tom and me with some major challenges, mainly his Alzheimer’s Disease diagnosis. At that moment, it occurred to me that joy might become a thing of our past, not of our future. I was wrong. For me, the experience of living with joy has been greatly elevated by finding it amidst the difficult times and our love has continued to be precious and rewarding through it all.
Discovering that the A.D. was not going to swallow us whole within a few months or even years has been joy beyond belief. We don’t know the course it will take, but for now it has changed our quality of life only a little, and he is still enjoying relative contentment. The heart issues of this past summer seem to be handled, and though we don’t know what lies ahead, things are a bit more tranquil here at the moment. Joy!
Someone recently commented to me that they spend a good bit of time pursuing joy, and find it difficult to sustain. My heart aches for her and for others who seek and do not find. Depression sucks out every joyous instinct in people who suffer from it and good professional help is often necessary. But for most of us, it can become a learned behavior and finally, a habit.
For me, my family and friends, music and poetry have been my great joys, in spite of having walked through my share of valleys. Oh, and my little dogs…personifications of joy! At my most joyous, I doubt that I have ever experienced it on the level that they exhibit when we return from the post office! They truly live in the moment in a way that I continue to strive for, not always achieving. But it is in the shimmering moment that we are most likely to find joy.
I believe that we can find and claim joy in a million small ways every day if we are open to seeing it around us. It often comes along with the experience of gratitude…and let’s face it, we have a lot for which to be grateful. We have what we need, if not all we want.
Joy to the world! The mass is ended. Pax!