How happy are the people who know the sound of joy! They walk in the light of Your face, O Lord. Psalm 89:15
I think I’ve always sought joy in my life, but seldom found it. Joy meant getting what I wanted and never having consequences when my choices were not great. The things that I thought would make me happy often resulted in more misery. Why was that?
My goals were self-focused, always wanting more, more, more. I wanted more food, but found no joy in morbid obesity. Surely love would bring joy, but I made poor choices in relationships, looking for what was in it for me, rather than contributing to the joy of my partner. Even the things that I acquired in the name of joy brought unhappiness in the long run.
Somewhere along the way, I stopped looking for joy and began to seek ways to bring joy to others. My spiritual advisor suggested that I give anonymously. How in the world could that possibly make me happy? What did I have to lose? I tried it.
This goes back to the days before toll transponders, when we rolled up to the booth and handed the lady our quarter. I remember the glee I felt when I paid the toll for the next three cars behind me. It was the greatest joy I ever experienced.
I worked alone in a large office building. Sometimes all I could do was to wipe down the sink in the common area ladies rest room. Sometimes I folded the toilet paper like they do in hotels. Silly, but it worked! I felt a sweet joy inside my soul.
Turns out that I didn’t need to look for joy at all – its everywhere when our hearts are open to receive it.
Today, just my simple little life brings me joy. I see the beauty in things that I missed when I was focused on my own satisfaction. As we travel across this beautiful country in our RV, I am blessed with vistas that take my breath away. As we drive through California, the mountains change from rolling hills to rocky snow-capped skyscrapers.
I find joy in watching a father cuddle and kiss his baby. When the phone rings and one of my sisters is on the other end, my heart is filled with joy. Stepping back and viewing my sparkling house after I’ve spent the morning scrubbing is a joyful moment.
When I’m grateful for what I have and not what I lust for, I see that joy is always right there, waiting for me to claim it. How about you? What moment of joy is happening right now for you, if you open your heart to receive it?