Joy. Pureness is the best way I would explain it. Happiness that radiates from the heart to the lips in a smile of contentment and gratitude. Small children are emulators of joy…they radiate joy at any given moment. I watched my friend’s fourteen month old grandson exploring the world and as he opened and shut the cabinets that housed the extra coffee cups, he beamed with the pure joy of discovery. It was impossible not to feel the pureness of his happiness, it was unfettered with entanglements of the mind. He was just full of joy.
After the loss of my son, I thought I would never know joy again. My children are my pride and joy…how could I lose him and ever know happiness, let alone joy? My faith held me strong while I went through a very difficult part of my life. This verse and others in the Bible reminded me after that after the grief there is joy. I wasn’t sure how but I knew all in God’s time…it too shall come to pass.
I believe that enduring such a deep pain allowed me to be open for the joy that was to come later. I focused on the good memories and the love in my heart for my husband, my daughter and my friends. Eventually I had to move on through the stages of my grief.
I struggled. I’d lost my son, I’d been through breast cancer and I had lost my father all in less than nine months. It was so very hard to keep finding a way to go on. I lived one day at a time. I realized that it was up to me whether I let sadness and pain be my destiny or if I was going to find strength to look deep, deep, down inside where joy still lived in my soul. Each day I worked at finding beauty in the moment and appreciate the life I had before me. I learned to be grateful for living, for loving and for caring. I finally learned that “the sweetest joy in life is to love and be loved”.
My recovery from breast cancer gave me a new “North” on my life’s compass. I realized that to best way to live life, especially after a devastating illness like cancer was to look for joy. I asked for friends to send me jokes or cartoons…suggest funny movies. I knew that laughter was the best medicine for me after what I had been through. I also learned to love myself for all my flaws, my shortcomings in life and despite what others may feel about me. I loved me. I found joy in being.
These positive thoughts were instrumental for my healing, not just then but later after surviving my heart event. I learned to be grateful for the little things….don’t sweat the small stuff. Your thoughts often get in the way of happiness. The perspective you chose will determine your destiny. I learned I was more relaxed in my relationships when I look at things from a different light. Things that used to irritate me started to make me smile. How can you find joy if you are stressed out and irritated? I wanted happiness and joy in my life. I had a lot of love to give, but it was stuck behind a lot of “junk in my trunk”.
My healing was not only on the outside, but on the inside as well. I think the healthiest you can be is when you learn to live in joy. As Deepak Chopra is quoted, “the healthiest response to life is joy.”