Joy! The word itself evokes a feeling of euphoria, of wonder, of happiness! It makes us want to sing, shout and jump for Joy!
In elementary school, we would gather each morning for chapel. It was actually a short song service, a message from our principal and then a prayer for a good day in school.
One of the first songs we usually sang was about having “Joy down in my heart, down in my heart! I got Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy down in my heart. Down in my heart today.” The following verses would have joy in our feet which required stamping our feet. The wood floors in that auditorium would fairly shake with the vigorous stomping that went with the verse. The next verse would have Joy in our hands which required much clapping of our hands together. Needless to say, we were all “full of it,” Joy I mean, by the time the song was ended.
The next few first verses of songs were gradually more subdued and less boisterous with the intention of the students then being ready to go back to class and behave. It worked with some and not so much with others. But they were usually the ones who found themselves in the office of the principal and the wrong end of a paddle on more occasions than they liked.
Unfortunately, as we grew older, some of us found less joy in our real lives. We learned not to stamp our feet and clap our hands. In having this restraint placed on us, we forgot how to be joyful. We were told to act our age; young people our age weren’t supposed to act like that. We were told to be seen and not heard. Boy, did that ever put a crimp in being joyful!
As an adult, I’ve had to learn how to find my joy again. I’m not a jumper, a stomper but I’m really good at clapping my hands. I’m not a good singer but I can manage to keep closely in tune as long as there’s good music to cover the wrong notes I hit on occasion. But what difference does it make as long as I’m making a joyful noise!
I’m still a reserved person and that’s my nature. That doesn’t stop me from enjoying a good song like Dolly Parton can belt out with a beautiful choir to back her. I love hearing the Oakridge Boys singing “Elvira!” Whoopi Goldberg as a nun leading a choir of young people who really get their joy juice going when she gives them the opportunity is pure joy. It shows on their faces, on hers and the people they sing for. Three Dog Night singing, “Joy to the World, to fishes in the deep blue sea, joy to you and me” can really bring us to our feet and whether we know all the words, we will sing along.
Joy can be found in song, a sunrise, a sunset, children playing, couples holding hands or a baby sleeping. Joy can be eating a peach with the sweet juice running down our chins and through sticky fingers. Joy is where we want to find it. Sometimes we need to go back to a time when we had even just a little bit of joy and find that place. What was it, what did it taste like, feel like? Then, we bring it into our lives today in a way that can make us feel again.
I’m still finding joy every day. I hope Joy for you. Namaste!
– Barbara Tubbs Hill / firstname.lastname@example.org / (256) 710-9713
Writer, counselor, perennial student and seeker of truth and spirit is an apt description for Barbara. Currently, Barbara is working on her first novel with two more planned for the future. Her first book, “Let’s Talk, What You Don’t Know About Credit Can Hurt You,” was written after fifteen years in a career than spanned collections, credit and mortgage lending. Barbara is glad to have been a part of getting the Indian Mound in Florence listed on the Alabama State Historical Register and soon the National Historical Registry. She lives in Florence AL with her husband Johnnie and two precious rescue dogs; Snookies and Daisy.