DIAMONDS ON THE SIDEWALK
When it comes to expressing joy, I'm not as expressive as I'd like to be. When I meet someone who is abundantly joyful, I always wonder how they do it. How do they have the energy to bounce around smiling all the time and saying positive things constantly. It's as if they're plugged into some kind of power source that keeps them "up" all the time.
The bible talks a lot about joy and I know that being close to God is supposed to bring us joy, but sometimes I feel like I must be doing something wrong because I don't feel the kind of joy that some people so obviously express. My joy is more of a quiet joy. It's not part of my personality to bounce around with a constant smile, offering hugs and happy talk. I guess my joy is more obvious to God than it is to people. And that's okay. We all express emotions differently, especially joy.
The things that bring me joy might be things that most people take for granted, like being seated at a table by the window in a restaurant or better yet, being seated next to the fireplace on a bitter cold night. I find joy in my daughter's freckled nose and my son's sudden bursts of silliness. He'll shuffle across the floor or make a silly face and I'll feel joy in knowing that my children are part of my life. In that moment I thank God for them and I feel joyful.
I just read about a woman who said she finds joy in the sparkles on the sidewalk. When the sun hits the new sidewalk near her home, thousands of little diamonds shimmer as she steps across the reflective white concrete. How many others walk across that sidewalk everyday and never notice the bursts of joy under their feet?
Whether our joy is obvious to everyone or more obvious to God, it seems to me that being joyful is a choice. It's not something that we automatically do. We can choose to search for the joyful moments or choose to dwell on the downers. I'm trying to get in the habit of expecting moments of joy as I go about my day. I don't want those moments to pass by unnoticed. I'm learning that by looking for joy and expecting it, I can bring more of those moments into my life.
I guess we can't find anything unless we search for it. Joy is no different. I also remember reading about a guy who looks for joy when he takes out the garbage. He breathes in the crisp night air and always looks up at the stars. A mundane task that most people hate is turned into a moment of joy because of what he decides to dwell on when he gets there.
I believe that some day we will be made aware of all the moments in our lives when we missed the joy. Some day we'll see all those little diamonds that we walked right by simply because we weren't looking for them or expecting them.