Joy – noun - the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation
Recently, I have allowed my frustrations to take my joy. On December 6th, 2012 I was admitted into the hospital with double pneumonia. I am used to being in the hospital with pneumonia. In the past it has occurred once a year. A couple years ago it became twice a year and this past year I have been in the hospital four times with pneumonia. This last time in December was the hardest and it has been most difficult to recover.
When I was first admitted I had so many praying for my recovery, unfortunately, I was praying for the opposite. I was tired of gasping for air, coughing, choking, and fighting for my life. I had allowed my illness to take away my joy. A friend’s son came to see me on the night before a difficult procedure that was suppose to take the fluid out of my lungs. I hadn’t seen this young man for many years, and he entered my hospital room very upset and said, “Man, Cathy, you have always been a fighter. You are my hero. You can’t give up!” That’s when I knew I had allowed my situation to rob me of my joy.
At that point I gave it to God. To quote a country western song, I decided to “Let Jesus Take the Wheel” (Why does one always refer to country western songs in times of trouble?). I was okay with whatever happened one way or the other. I was ready to fight.
I was released from the hospital on December 16th. I stayed home from the 16th to January 6, 2013. There were some very rough times. I was so tired and there were times when I couldn’t even hold my head up. One day I even had to ask for a hug. And again, like the fool that I am, I started to allow my situation to snatch my joy. What was I thinking? People wanted to take me to the movies, lunch and shopping and I was afraid to leave the house. I had depleted my self of my joy.
I was up early this morning coughing, choking and flipping channels when I came across Joel Osteen giving a sermon on Joy and not letting bad situations, or mean people take away your joy! Jesus took the wheel, again. God never said, if we followed him we wouldn’t have bad things happen to us. He has only promised to be there to comfort us when they do. It is my responsibility to keep from allowing bad situations or people to keep from absconding with my joy.
I have a dear friend that I have philosophical text discussions with just about every Sunday morning. We are from completely different worlds but are so much alike. I secretly call her the “Quote Queen”. I always share with her my spiritual epiphanies and she always sends me a bevy of quotes about my epiphany and then texts her own amazing thoughts. This morning I was sharing my new epiphany on being responsible for one’s own joy and she sent me the following quotes:
“It depends on how we look at things, not on how they are themselves.” Carl Gustav Jung
“It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult undertaking which, more than anything else, will determine its successful outcome.” William James
“”We don’t laugh because we’re happy – we’re happy because we laugh.” William James
“Man can alter his life by altering his thinking.” William James
I’ve told students in the past and the one’s I teach now that attitude is everything and here I am not practicing what I preach. My new epiphany: To find joy in everything I come across and everyone I meet. Or as Caren would say, “Stop being a pissypants!” If the reader is a friend, family member or someone I work with, I may need gentle reminder of my joy epiphany. One is welcome to nudge or shout, “pissypants”.
DON'T LET ANYONE OR ANYTHING TAKE YOUR JOY!
I find joy in twirling three times before entering or exiting a room. I find joy in licking the grout. I find joy in drinking Caren’s wine. Y’all call it obsessive compulsive I call it joy.
The Flip Side
I find joy in lizard and rabbit chasing and long runs with the golf cart. I wish everyone would make it their responsibility to make sure that I am joyous. Ooooops, I forgot my joy is my responsibility, but I can't reach the gate lock.