There is a single word that has been popping up all around me for the past few days...
It has been in the Scripture I've been reading...
It has been the subject of discussion on websites...
It is, I've decided, the Word that will be printed on my Christmas cards this year.
It is a word that is often misused as a description but once witnessed in its truest form, has the ability to transform your day, your attitude, your direction, your very spirit.
It is Joy.
I was racking my brain earlier this morning, trying to recall a conversation I had recently about someone...couldn't remember about whom or with whom I had it. I just remembered saying, "She is joy."
Then it came to me, and I rushed to the kitchen to retrieve the picture that had been given to me, prompting that forgotten conversation. I picked it up and actually exclaimed aloud, her face took my breath away...
This is a picture of my mother and her family circa 1950's. (My mom is the bathing beauty seated at bottom.) Mama gave me a copy when I went home recently, and we were laughing at the fashion (what is my uncle wearing as his bathing suit?!?); at my grandfather's stoic expression (on beach day, no less!); at great-grandma's support hose and black shoes.
Then amidst the amusement, my gaze settled on my grandmother in the top middle. My eyes filled with tears, I looked at Mama and sighed, "Look at Mema. She is joy."
Joy is not cheerfulness.
Joy is not happiness.
It is not delight, optimism or gladness.
These are all attitudes or reactions or feelings for which we strive.
They are good...they are just not joy.
No, joy is intangible.
It is deep seated and comes from the very recesses of our being.
It is an ineffable quality that draws others in.
It is the Spirit.
Mema had it.
There was rarely a moment that her eyes were not dancing or her arms not pulling you in or her lips not speaking encouragement.
Her faith beamed out of every pore.
She chose joy...because she chose Him.
I want joy.
I want to speak words of faith and encouragement.
I want to let Him into every fiber of my being, every moment of my world, every thought and every action.
I want to exude His light and love.
I want to embrace His word and truth.
I want to have that "something" - that "it" - that "quality" that lights the way for others.
I want to live like Mema.
I want to live...joy.