The last month has been stress filled and crazy.
I've been a complete basket case.
Every person in my home has been on edge.
It's been rough.
My heart is full.
I am grateful.
As I drove the 20 minutes to town with my two boys and my two nephews there was peace in the car.
I hummed along with the tunes on the radio.
As I made my way from the high school to the middle school, and then finally to the intermediate school, I felt joy.
As I proceeded through my route I began to notice my thoughts and my feelings.
I pondered on the joy filling my soul.
So I let myself feel it.
And I realized what true happiness is, once again.
I've felt it before.
But I haven't felt it for a while now.
I've let the burdens of life get in the way.
I worked through it in my mind.
Even with the radio on and kids in the car.
I'm in tune this morning and it feels good.
I asked myself,
"What am I feeling?
Why am I feeling this RIGHT now?"
And it came to me...
Line upon line.
It isn't lots of money,
a new car,
a big house,
a new camp trailer.
It isn't exotic trips to far away places
or eating in fine restaurants.
It isn't having the 'perfect' body,
the closet full of designer clothes,
the manicured nails,
or the perfect hair.
Joy is not in those... THINGS.
You can feel happy with all of those things,
but that is not where true joy is found.
Today I feel joy.
Joy is actually quite easy to find.
You just need to know where to find it.
It can be found in the words of God in the scriptures.
It's there every time I have a two way communication to a Father in Heaven who knows me and wants nothing more than to bless me and comfort me.
I felt it as I drove past a young mother on a morning walk with her baby and toddler in a double stroller and I remembered the precious time of my life when MY children were that age.
Or as I watched the little boy on his scooter with his hair combed neatly and his backpack on his back, reaching down to pick up the rock his mother will find in his pocket the next time she washes those pants.
It was in the air as my daughter walked out the front door and her dad and I both expressed our love to her and wished for her to have a good day and then she said, "I love you too".
It's in my children's laughter.
It's in the thoughtful thank you notes given to express gratitude for a kind gesture, gift, or service rendered.
It is found when the Holy Ghost fills the air in our home during family prayer.
It can be found in the notes and lyrics of good music - the kind that lifts us up - not the kind that tears us down.
It's in a smile from a stranger as we pass on the street, at the post office, or the grocery store.
It's in a hug from a friend when I am down.
It's in words of praise from others for something my child did without me knowing.
It's in my children's accomplishments.
It can be felt at the completion of a job well done - a clean bathroom, a balanced checkbook, a presentation that took hours, days, or weeks to put together, a well-prepared lesson that is taught by the spirit at church, when the laundry is clean and neatly put away, a flower bed full of colorful blooms, the harvest from a garden that has been tended for months - bottled, frozen, or eaten fresh -...whatever task requires our time, energy, talent, or expertise to complete. If it is done to the best of our ability, we will find joy there.
It is in the good things in life.
It is in truth, honesty, and righteous choices.
Joy is easy to find if we truly seek it.
The more we open our minds and hearts to it, the more we will find it.
Life does have stress, heartache, pain, fear, and discouragement.
But joy is ALWAYS there.
Recognizing it helps to buffer that discouragement, fear, pain, heartache, and stress.
Mankind was never meant to be miserable.
Happiness and joy are meant to be a large part of our existence.
It won't be found in worldly pursuits.
It will be found in the small things - the acts of kindness, the smiles, the beauties of the earth, the simple things.
But more than anywhere else, joy can be found in our relationships - with God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost, our spouse, our children, our extended family, our co-workers, and our friends and neighbors.
The people who seem to have the most joy are the ones who diligently work to cultivate good and lasting relationships.
They show and express gratitude regularly.
They stop to smell the roses.
They offer a kind word to a weary soul.
They place God above themselves.
They see life through the lens of eternity.
Their motto is not, "Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die."
Their motto is, "Charity never faileth." (Moroni 7:46)
May we all seek to find a greater measure of joy today.
|I took this photo this morning when I pulled up to work at my office.|
I've completely neglected my flower bed this year, but it has thrived with only a little help from me pulling a weed here an there.
I love flowers that re-seed themselves the next year! :)