Archive for May 7th, 2009

Pure Joy

Father Jo Jo sings.  He sings along with the hymns as he should but he also sings right in the middle of his homily.  I love that he does this but even more, I love that I get to witness it.  Not because he has a beautiful voice or because he picks the most moving songs but because he sings with joy.  And joy isn’t something you witness every day.  I almost always have a nickname for our priests.  Father Tippy Toe couldn’t see over the lectern so he had to deliver his homily on tiptoe.  Father Speedy Gonzales delivered his homily at lighting speed.  But Father Jo Jo is my favorite and thus has my favorite nickname, Father Joyful.

I think a lot about joy these days because at forty and having considered myself to be one of the luckiest people in the world because of the family I have, I found my joy.  I found something that makes me completely joyful.  Luckily for everybody around me, I am not breaking into song, but I have found that piece that you see in others so seldom, joy.

A couple of weeks ago we were watching From the Earth to the Moon, Tom Hank’s series on NASA’s race to the moon, and I once again witnessed that joy.  It seemed that everybody involved in the space program had it.  The geologists in particular really struck me.  These are men who dig for rocks and find an absolute joy in it.  One of the men joked about being crazy and it occurred to me that this joyfulness in people, this pure love of one thing outside of themselves, is sometimes labeled as eccentricity.

People like Howard Hughes, who have an idea that they can’t get out of their heads and pursue all of there lives, often becoming successful beyond anyone’s wildest dreams, they have a joy, a love.  Often these people stand out in a room because they have found something many people never do.  They have found joy.

I don’t stand out in a room.  But I know I have found a joy outside of myself and my family.  I am not just happy with my life.  In writing, I have found something that I love.  For me it isn’t a grand idea like Howard Hughes’ planes or a faith like Father Jo Jo’s that causes me to break into song but it is a joy on a different level.  It is the same joy I see in my two year old as he runs through the house pushing his cars and crashing into the walls.  Or in eleven year olds who, though they don’t know it, are coming to the end of the time where they will be able to run through the playground with abandon.  It is a joy that comes from doing exactly what you were meant to do.

There was a song we used to sing in Sunday School.

I’ve got the joy joy joy joy down in my heart


Down in my heart


Down in my heart

I’ve got the joy joy joy down in my heart


Down in my heart to stay.

This song plays in my head as I sit here writing this because I know that, whether writing makes me successful or not, the most important thing it bring is joy.

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