What brings you joy? What holds you back from experiencing it?
Most of us have participated in some form of an exercise designed to help us let go of a deeply held fear or concern. One method that many people have experienced is to write the fear or concern onto a piece of paper and then throw that paper into a fire, allowing the flames to symbolically consume whatever it was that was written on the paper.
Several weeks ago, during lent, I attended an appropriately somber church service on Maundy Thursday. After the service, I made my way through a series of stations for further reflection. At one of these stations, people were encouraged to write a concern onto a Post-It note and stick it to the cross, leaving it there as a way of releasing it and letting go of that concern.
As I sat there, pondering what to write, I glanced up and saw a note someone else had left. It said, “There is no joy.”
Those words struck me deeply.
I think a lot about joy. Joy is my purpose. Joy is at the heart of this blog. Joy drives nearly everything that I do.
At its core, the whole “Work Should Be Fun” concept is about joy.
I can understand not feeling happy. I can understand feeling sadness. I can understand many things. But, I can’t contemplate a life without joy.
Joy runs deep. Even in sadness, anger, or frustration, there can be joy.
To me, sadness is not the opposite of joy. Sad is the opposite of happy. Both are surface level sensations of the moment. They come and go.
Joy is eternal. It is deeply rooted. I find joy and hope to be more closely linked than joy and happiness.
The absence of hope is despair. So, for someone to say, “There is no joy,” says to me that they feel utter despair. They lack hope.
Without hope, we might as well sit down and give up. Hope keeps us going, even when things look bleak.
Joy and hope are inextricably connected.
Do you see the joy around you? It is everywhere. It is especially visible in this season of springtime. Take a moment to look around and see it. Then find a way to share it with others.
Take a moment to connect with another person. Walk down the hall, into the next cubicle, or talk with the person at the cash register. Share a few words. Smile. See the beauty that is all around. For just a moment, ignore the trash in the roadside ditch, look beyond the dirty dishes piling up in the sink, look away from the pile of unread emails in your inbox.