Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Joy Regardless...



On this January afternoon Mr. Whiskers and I are purring in sync. It's the first day we've had a blaze in the fireplace and the den with its three outside walls is actually cozy. The chickadees, nuthatches and finches are on the feeders braving the rain/snow mix and Mrs. Downy Woodpecker has showed up to work on the suet. Juncos have arrived - a lovely mix of activity... outside. My house buddy and I are much less industrious than these feathered creatures just now, but I did exercise with Joyce this morning.

A note of clarification - Joyce teaches. I do the stretches. Joyce Meyer's program, Enjoying Everyday Life, helps me begin weekdays with a positive outlook. And, I confess, it doesn't take something huge to get me upbeat. Even a memory that stirs the chuckle juices will suffice.

For example, a couple of Sundays ago a lady, who for some reason is a special delight to tease and was sitting directly in front on me in church, turned and asked if I had an extra pen. I told her I did. Head down she continued doing whatever she was occupied with, assuming I was scrambling to find a second ballpoint. After a short pause I asked, "Did you want one?" Immediately one arm attached to the body in front came whipping over the back of her seat attempting to clobber the tickled instigator behind, and smiles crept over a face or two close by.

Without question, this mind-set comes more easily to one not coping with bereavement, illness or other troubling circumstances. Nevertheless, if not in acute distress at the moment, it is possible for a deep settled peace and happiness to surface. The last words I remember Mom saying were, "Oh, I've just enjoyed the day." It was May of 2003 and she was in a four bed hospital ward restricted to one visitor a day because of a worldwide outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. Nothing had happened to bring her joy. She was at peace on the inside regardless of her situation. I think she was in palliative care the following day.

Even with the horrendous suffering of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul associates joy. He writes, "Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross." (Hebrews 12:2 NKJ) And in John 15:11 Jesus says, "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full." (NKJ)

Full joy, abundant joy, has a great ring to it. A bit of teasing may be required to bring some smiles down the row, but that infectious spark can warm hearts just as a burning log ignites the chunk next to it.