Last night all my children were home for the evening to have Sunday supper with us. It was pretty late when we ate because my oldest son didn’t get off work until then, but it was important to us to be able to include him. It’s only been in recent months that we have been able to be a family once again. And even then it’s difficult to get everyone together because of the sheer amount of work schedules that we have to work around. Last night was the first time since January 8, 2016 that all my children were safe under my own roof at the same time.
As I finished making the soup for supper I listened to my children in the other room. They laughed and carried on as if no time had passed and as if nothing had ever separated them. When we sat down to eat they shared memories and shenanigans and laughed almost until they cried. The joy that filled the room and that filled my heart was palpable.
Chapter 35: Complete Joy
If I were to look at my life to see when I felt the most joy I have to say that it is always when I am doing something God has asked me to do. When I am open to his will in my life I know I will experience true joy and happiness. When I am serving others whether on a mission trip or at our local shelter, there is joy. When I stand on the side of the street with signs to uplift others, there is joy. When I offer forgiveness, there is joy. When I place God first in my life, there is joy. When I am open to new life, wow… there is joy! Whenever I directly follow God’s calling I find that there is joy. That’s not to say that what he asks me to do isn’t difficult because man, God has asked some really hard things from me; but it is to say that there is always a joy in the end knowing that I have answered God’s call.
I think the only way we can find true happiness and lasting joy is to unite our will to God’s and to live out the Gospel. It is amazing what God will bring into your life when you do!
Point to Ponder: Gratitude is a sure path to joy.
It’s easy to be grateful for the big things in our lives but it’s much harder to be grateful for the little things- the things we often overlook. I think the happiest people are the ones who can find the silver lining in just about any situation. For some of us who may have a “Pollyanna” type personality it’s easy to do. I have this type of personality and most of the time I can find the goodness in just about any situation. If you are one who has difficulty in this it may require more work on your part. But friends, I’m going to tell you that finding the good in life, even in the midst of the storms, is imperative to living a joyful life! Picking out just one small thing to be grateful for today will help you to move towards being able to find joy even when times are hard.
Verse to Live: “A joyful heart is life itself, and rejoicing lengthens one’s life span.” Sirach 30:22
I once wrote an article regarding the fountain of youth (you can read it here if you want). In it I said that having a lot of children keeps me young. They energize me, keep my life from becoming stagnant, and they simply bring an amazing amount of joy to my life. I think it is this joy that is the actual fountain of youth.
Being joyful changes us.
Question to Consider: What really brings you joy?
Seeing my family together brings me joy. Hearing my children laugh and reminisce with one another simply makes my heart swell with joy. Being able to serve others brings me true joy. My marriage brings me joy and being able to participate in the creation of new life with my husband brings me immeasurable joy!
Your Turn: Do you feel that you live a joyful life? What can you do differently to begin living joyful life? How can you bring joy to others?
Prayer: Jesus, let me get out of the way so you can fill me with complete joy.
Help me to see your joy in everything around me. Teach me how to be grateful for the little things in life. Amen.