Thursday, December 27, 2012

On Joy

"What brings you the most joy these days?"

It's a beautiful question, I think.

Perhaps you've heard or read about people who keep Gratitude lists - lists of all the things, people, and moments for which they are thankful.  Thankfulness and gratefulness are good things, but more often than not, they need words.  It's hard to be thankful for something without consciously naming it.  On the other hand, for me at least, joy needs no words.  

Joy is that heart-full feeling when rays of sunshine streak through the clouds; it's that gladness when I witness a sweet self-sacrifice from one of my children for another's benefit.  Joy is that wordless praise that fills my heart when no words are possible.  Joy is the ability to sing at the top of my lungs the words of the song "Glory to God" along with Handel's Young Messiah...while tears are streaming down my face and I'm choking on sobs.

"What brings you the most joy these days?"

It was a question asked in a not-very-joyful situation, from a father in rapidly failing health to his daughter shortly before he died.  Although her blog post about his rapid decline and death is four years old, I read the story again a few days ago with new eyes and a new understanding, and that question has been with me ever since.

"What brings you the most joy these days?"

Two Saturdays before Christmas, my dad was admitted to the hospital.  He was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma (a cancer of the bones' plasma cells) in August 2010, and the most recent round of aggressive chemotherapy has been harder on his body than any of us expected.  He's still in the hospital, and the end of his stay is not yet in sight.

We are thankful that he's being cared for by the professionals.
We are grateful that it's not worse than it is.
But there's nothing that can top the joy of knowing that God is in control.

No matter what.


...Once we give ourselves up to God, shall we attempt to get hold
of what can never belong to us -- tomorrow? Our lives are His,
our times in His hand, He is Lord over what will happen,
never mind what may happen...

Today is mine. Tomorrow is none of my business.

-- Elisabeth Elliot, Keep A Quiet Heart