Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Day 16: What the Word JOY Truly Stands For...

I was reminded today how terribly depressing it would be if our joy was found only in our current circumstance, financial situation or upcoming celebration.  Let me back up here and set the scene.  On Saturday night, my husband and I had made a trip to the country-like setting of some very good friends to sing, worship, study and of course (Southerners, remember) eat!  While there, my Mother had phoned me in the middle of a visit with friends to tell me she had just received a phone call that her only brother had died suddenly.  Stepping outside in the blustery cold to talk with her in private about the events that led to his death, I noticed that while listening to her intently, the stars in the sky seemed strangly sparkly, peaceful.  My Mom seemed strangly peaceful as well, in spite of the very bad news, because she was thankful her brother was surely at his final destination in heaven, and that he was not suffering.  God seems to grant a big dose of grace when we need it the most.

Offering to come and get her or go spend the night with her she said, "absolutely not.  I am just fine."  But after Sunday School the next morning I took off for her house and spent the entire day with her.  And she was right.  She was just fine.  As fine as one can be that has just lost their only brother to a sudden illness.  That is because she is one of the most joyful, easy-going people you would ever want to meet.  She seems to find contentment and joy in the simple pleasures of life - she lives simply - she wants little and she demands nothing.  She has been a perfect example of JOY for as long as I can remember.

Now, back to today.

Today, I was reminded what true JOY stands for -  praying for my Mother reminded me of her very basic principle of that.  J is for Jesus.  Jesus first.  O is for others - others always come next.  And Y - it's for yourself; which always comes last. 

                            That's it!   JOY. 

In this particular order, she has lived her life;  Jesus, Others and Yourself.  JOY!  True Joy.  Simple Joy. 

So, when I think of her - I think of simple Joy.  Joy in the small things that make a Mother smile.  It isn't found in our current circumstances.  Not in the number of zeros in your bank account.  She finds joy in the ability to read the Bible.  Joy in spending time with a child or grandchild, joy in helping a neighbor, joy in keeping the nursery at church, joy in making a prayer list and praying for everyone on the list every day.  And then, joy in working a crossword puzzle, having a cheese sandwich and small glass of milk for dinner, playing Word Womp on the computer or watching a Hallmark movie on television. 

I hope I someday turn out just like her in that regard.  I am so far from it at this point, getting lost in my circumstances from time to time, but that would be my prayer. 

Lord, help me to pour my life out serving you and serving others.  I will be praying that tomorrow before I drive her the three hours to the memorial service.  And I will be glad that I made that trip with her last winter to spend time with her brother and her sister as we arrive at the memorial service to celebrate his life.

Thanks, Lord, for the reminder of why I am so blessed.  May we always find such simple joy in all that we do.

More joy for your journey,

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