joy |joi|noun: a feeling of great pleasure and happiness

On Saturday night, Brad and I had a lovely date night.

We started the evening at church, then went to the symphony, then had dinner at a lovely restaurant called Lavomatic.

And we talked about joy.

At church, a man shared his story. This man lost his wife to cancer a mere two months ago. She was diagnosed over two years ago, and she outlived the doctor’s expectations by over a year. What was so striking about this man was that he was able to exude joy in the midst of the greatest loss of his life. Yes, there was sorrow. But there was a palpable joy too. He credited his joy to his faith, to his hope in Jesus, to his relationship with his wife, to sharing his wife’s stories, to his children, to what is to come… and the list goes on and on. And his story filled me with joy.

Then, we went to the symphony. Now, I know nothing about the symphony outside of the fact that there are some seriously talented musicians that play beautifully together. The second piece the symphony performed featured a violinist named Augustin Hadelich. His solo made my heart hurt it was so beautiful. I, who know nothing about classical music, found my eyes welling with tears from the notes this man produced. And his joy was visible. The joy he felt in his instrument, in the stage, in music. And his music filled me with joy.

When sitting at dinner, Brad and I started talking about joy. And we wondered aloud to each other who was the most joy-filled person that we knew. Who, if anyone, did we know that bubbled up happiness, contentment, and pleasure? The list was rather short of people that immediately came to mind. But our talk filled me with joy.

So since Saturday, I have been thinking a lot about joy. What brings me joy?

I can think of a thousand things, but here are a few that are top of mind tonight:

Connecting with my husband

A belly laugh with my dearest friends

Precious time with my family

Creating

Eating

Baby kicks and punches

My faith

Learning

Reading a book on a sunny day

Finishing a big project

A super productive day at work

And as I formulate my list of things that bring me joy… it is relatively apparent what doesn’t bring me joy:

Keeping up with the Joneses

Watching TV

Spending mindless time on Facebook

Idleness

Buying things I don’t really need

Cleaning up dog poop in the back yard (however, I think this one is going to have to stay in my life for sanitation’s sake)

Jealousy

Anger

Bitterness (those last three are pretty “no-duh” thoughts, right?)

So, here I sit. Meditating on joy.

And the more I think about it, the more I crave it. I want to be a joy-filled person.

And I want to invest my time, resources and energy into things that ultimately bring me and others joy.

I guess that is all I have to say about that.

What brings you joy?

If you can’t immediately list off a whole bunch of joy-inducing things in your life, my wish for you is that you start to pursue a key thing or two relentlessly until you capture the joy.

Here are my husband’s thoughts on the topic if you are interested.

And here is the violinist we saw. Perhaps this will bring you joy. This isn’t the piece he performed, but you’ll get the idea:

And if that doesn’t work for ya, check out this one:

Dogs AND babies. Are you kidding me?

If that doesn’t bring you great pleasure and happiness, you may be a lost cause.

Have a great week my friends.

XO,
Leah

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