Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Joy Within Us

March 8, 2015
Page 5E
The Joy Within Us
By Peggy Toney Horton 

   At this time of year, when days are short and often dreary, it can be difficult to feel joyful. It’s quite possible that winter’s darkness triggers not-so-happy memories of the past in some who are already sick, lonely, or depressed causing them to give up, thus the reports that more deaths occur in January than any other month of the year.
   And fewer during the holidays!
This would indicate that elderly, depressed and lonely people “hold on” for “joyful times,” like Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. But when the holidays are over and they see no more enjoyment in sight, they “let go” during the darkest days of January.
   How sad!
   Joy is our natural state of being. When we experience it, all else falls away, all worries, all doubts. We are one with the Creator! When we are expressing joy, we feel intimately connected to God.
   Many activities connect us to the joyfulness that is deep within us. Being enveloped by the silence of a snowfall may fill us with quiet elation. It is a great gift to witness a sunset, hold the hand of a loved one, behold the innocent face of a newborn child and then to express heartfelt gratitude for that moment, that person, or that inspiration.
   Lighting a candle, saying a prayer and blessing a meal can all be sources of happiness. True and lasting joy comes from within—from God, the Source of every joy.
   When we receive good news or hear from a dear friend or a child calls our name, we immediately feel a sense of satisfaction. When we watch a funny movie, hear a good joke or recall a humorous event, we respond with laughter.
   Yet it is when our hearts are touched by a revelation of God’s presence that our joy is complete. The joy of God is our strength, a bliss that cannot be disturbed by outer circumstances, for it is an intricate part of the nature of God.
   We do not create our own happiness; there is a reservoir of sacred contentment instilled within our souls by our Creator. It’s up to us to express our inner joyfulness. As we do this, it moves through us as waves of enthusiasm that flow into our thoughts, conversations and actions. The more joy we express, the more gladness of Spirit rushes in to fill this reservoir and then spills over into our lives.
   Joy is within us no matter what circumstances life may bring. Knowing that conditions can change in an instant, we find happiness in knowing that life is eternal. We also derive pleasure from times in silence, during which we may realize our oneness with God. This is when we discover joy in the beauty God has created around us: the rain’s gentle patter, the sun’s warmth and light, a flower’s sweet perfume and a child’s uninhibited laughter.
   Joy is only a thought away. When we are feeling sadness, fear or anxiety, let us remember that the choice is ours to keep our mind and heart attuned to the Holy Spirit – for every thought, word and action is an expression of the Spirit within.
   True joy is deeper than any sorrow and stronger than any disappointment. We trust this power within to help us overcome sorrow, anger or grief—to remind us continuously that life is good.
   When we awaken each day to an awareness of God, we awaken to joy!
    Peggy Toney Horton can be reached at pegylu@suddenlink.net