I've been thinking a lot about joy lately. And, of course, when I think about something a lot, it seems that every song on the radio is about it, every sermon is about it, and every book I read discusses it. But they haven't told me what is Joy, and where can I buy it? Isn't that the American solution to everything? I must admit, I have sometimes fallen into that trap; feeling that something is missing, so running out to Barnes and Noble to see if I can find and buy whatever it is, or surfing Amazon and add a few things to my wish list. But I do know that consumerism is not the answer to finding Joy. New things (even the best books) quickly become just one more thing to dust on my bookshelf.
Our library's 'One County/One Book' choice for this year was The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner. I read it. It did not answer the question for me: Where do I find bliss? And what is bliss anyway? Wikipedia, (which is supposed to answer all our questions, isn't it?) says:
Bliss can be a state of profound satisfaction, happiness and joy.
Bliss is a constant state of mind undisturbed by gain or loss.
OK. That sounds like something I want. But still, it doesn't tell me where or how to get it.
The group I sing with has been singing a lot of 'joy' songs. They are generally quite perky and fun to sing. They give me that 'state of satisfaction, happiness, and joy.' But all too quickly, the song is over.
I read the scriptures that talk about 'the joy of the Lord.' But again, they are surrounded by scriptures that lead me to believe that such joy is not the laugh-out-loud, smile-all-the-time bliss we all are looking for. I have also been reading several books about creativity and, surprisingly, the authors also discuss this quest for joy we are all on; the search that the American Constitution calls the 'pursuit of happiness.' So, come on people, where can it be found?
Well, I certainly don't have the answer to that question. But I am beginning to see that the second Wikipedia description is closer to what I, at least, need to find to feel that I have found Joy. To have a 'state of mind that is undisturbed by gain or loss.' To learn to be content whatever the circumstances. (Philippians 4:10) And Matthew Fox (Creativity) adds that we need to live a life of gratitude and creativity; a yearning to return blessing for blessing, joy for joy.
So, I have been striving to be content; to be more aware of all of the things around me that I have to be grateful for, and to actually take the time to say Thank You. I have also been making sure I take the time to create, be it artwork in the studio or a sketch in my sketchbook, a photo session in the garden, or a new recipe for cookies. And these things do give me a quiet kind of joy. As Martha Stewart would say, I do think that is a Good Thing. Don't you?