A Call to Joy.
Joy. A simple word really, that is used nonchalantly by all of us quite often. “Joy to the World!” I have the “Joy, joy, joy…” I know joy. I see it everyday and quickly thank God for everything He’s given me and keep living my life. Living in the swirling vortex of unending laundry, tumbleweeds of dog hair, tax preparation begging to be done, haircuts being neglected, and school lessons waiting to be taught. But am I really full of joy, the kind of joy that bubbles up inside of you and you can’t help but be happy, no matter what? Um, no not quite.
So how do I get to that seemingly impossible state of uncontrollable joy? There’s so much to do, so much to worry about, so many that are suffering…I need to worry and pray about them. I’m way too busy to stop and be joyful and thankful for every little thing that is in my life. Wait, am I? Well, that’s rather selfish. So what is it…the simple solution to feeling joy? It turns out that I’ve had the solution for awhile and haven’t been using it. Turns out I needed a few people to tell me over and over again. My husband usually has the first answer but I don’t listen. Other loved ones often share their pearls of wisdom for which I’m grateful, but for some reason I’m never able to apply it to myself. I am constantly reading some Christian or Catholic book that reminds me that I already have the answers. The most recent book that I have put at the top of my Must-Read List solidified everything that I’ve been hearing for awhile…One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.
I won’t try to quote her in all of my posts, although it will be difficult. I feel like she is speaking right to me, as if I’m the one she’s writing about…she’s a very talented but humble writer and I’m sure all of her readers feel the same way. “To the wrestle to get it all done, the relentless anxiety that I am failing. Always, the failing. I yell at children, fester with bitterness, forget doctor appointments, lose library books, live selfishly, skip prayer, complain, go to bed too late, neglect cleaning the toilets. I live tired. Afraid. Weary.” I told you she can talk directly to you. My head is hanging.
She writes of Eucharisteo. Greek for “give thanks.” Chara. “Joy.” At the Last Supper, what did Jesus Christ do, despite the fact that he knew what was to come? He broke the bread and gave thanks. So why am I not giving thanks for everything in MY life? So what happens when you remain in a state of thanksgiving? Yes, JOY! It puts our lives in perspective and allows us to feel that uncontainable joy that God wants us to feel. If Jesus can give thanks only hours before being put to death, I think I can spend a little time being thankful for my life, even the laundry that I think has sprouted some fur this weekend.
But this means I must actually do something rather than waiting for God to tell me the answers, even though I will continue to ask for them. I think I’ve figured out, at least in part, what He has been calling me to do…be thankful. That’s it. Be thankful. But, I’m human so I need to put something into action so I feel like I’m moving in the right direction. Again, Ann Voskamp helps me out:
“Pierre de Caussade said ‘When one is thirsty one quenches one’s thirst by drinking, not by reading books which treat of this condition.’ If we are dying of thirst, passively reading about water quenches little; the only way to quench the parched mouth is to close the book and dip the hand into water and bring it to the lips. If we thirst, we’ll have to drink.” And, so the list of one thousand gifts begins…
We’ve started our list, will you?