JOY: I received a lot of positive feedback on the blog about love. My thanks to the many who responded. Given the weather, COVID and politics, I think we want to hear good news and love is good news.

Another important experience of good news is finding joy. I have been successful finding joy even amid life’s many problems.

Faith and Joy: I lost another classmate to COVID this week. I could find joy in that he was an outstanding scientist, family man and person of faith. I celebrated his life even while mourning his loss.

After we sent out the notice of his death to my high school classmates, I received a disheartening email from one of them. He said he was feeling lonelier with the death of each classmate. He then told me “religion’s promises were as truthful as the fantasies of QAnon.”  He also shared the following –

“Probably the single greatest disappointment & frustration in my life is with my fellow Americans.  As teenagers, most of joined one of the armed forces and for me later in life both EMS and the FD.  Our generation won life’s national opportunity lotto in jobs, status, movement & exploration.  Yet we failed so miserably in race relations, thankfulness, community/national effort and passing on that good fortune, morality, ethics and civics lessons to our children.  What happened in the DC insurrection was our failure to teach tolerance, respect for our institutions, laws & fellow citizens and that freedom doesn’t mean being a cult member but rather accepting there are limits to everything.”

I agree we have not done a good job passing on good values. Unlike him I believe faith (not religion) is not a fantasy and is the way to have and pass on important values. I understand some ideas of religion are not good, but my faith is the reason I care for other people and their property. My faith is the reason I have joy not loneliness in my life. My faith is why I work hard at improving human equality. My faith is why I am thankful. My faith is why I seek to pass my good fortune on to others.  My faith is a source of joy. Without my faith I would be totally self-seeking, and self-interested and as sad, lonely, and disappointed as my classmate.

Clutter and Joy: On television I saw someone recommend a way to reduce the clutter in your home. She said take each item and any item that does not bring you joy should be discarded

I have a man-cave. When we moved into our new home, I created room in the way I wanted. Much to the chagrin of Jeny’s decorator, the shelves are pine board and concrete blocks. The walls, shelves and closet are filled with items. If I were to reduce the clutter, I would not be able to use joy as the criteria. Each item in my clutter brings many joyful memories of family, friends, travel, teaching, art, pictures, stories, faith – joy, joy and more joy. I am daily surrounded by joy. My clutter is filled with joy. I need a different criterion to reduce my clutter.

I know the many of the items will not have the same joyful memories for my children and grandchildren and will be discarded some day. For now, they remain in my room and bring me smiles each day.

Maturity and Joy: One of the best signs of my maturity involves joy. As I have matured, I have changed in my experience of joy. I cannot point to a time, a date, or an event to mark the change. I only know somewhere along life’s journey I moved beyond the joy of receiving and found more joy in giving.

In today’s rain and cold I am reminded all our needs are met, while others are homeless, hungry and fearful. We have shelter, food, safety and much more. I know we will continue to have our needs met. We have been blessed with abundance. Those blessings come with a great responsibility. Rather than seeking to fulfill more wants, we have the responsibility to give to meet the needs of the less fortunate.

Maybe we need a day set aside to give and to celebrate joy.

FYI — We held a college golf tournament in Mobile on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday of this week. They played 18 holes each day. It was cold, wet but manageable.




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