Finding Joy

Instead of resolutions each new year, for a long time now I have chosen a word. One word. A word that will help me focus, reflect, center, and enable direction in all the challenge a year’s days can bring. It usually takes me awhile to choose a word, but I have always understood why it was a necessary and helpful word by the end of a year. Last year my word was Savor. I will be honest in saying that I understand now why that word was crucial for me in 2020 – a year of worldwide pandemic and social isolation that included friends and family dear to me, changes not ever before imagined, further loss of Joe’s vision, serious illness and hospitalization for me, economic and political deterioration, wildfires and hurricanes. I needed to pay attention, focus on savoring the immeasurable blessings in my life that include dear and constant caring as we live with our youngest son and his family and receive reassurance and encouragement by phone and media from our other two sons and their families. This year with all its roller coaster experiences, I felt some resistance as a new word kept coming to mind. The word is JOY. At first I had some thought that this was because the word is everywhere at Christmastime. But slowly I realized I must choose Joy.

Practice Joy. Receive Joy, Scatter Joy. In my morning reading, I have been using Jan Richardson’s art and words. This morning, this poem was my gift from her writing.


When your weeping
has watered
the earth.
When the storm
has been long
and the night
and the season
of your sorrowing.
When you have seemed
an exile
from your life,
lost in the far country,
a long way from where
your comfort lies.
When the sound
of splintering
and fracture
haunts you.
When despair
attends you.
When lack.
When trouble.
When fear.
When pain.
When empty.
When lonely.
When too much
of what depletes you
and not enough
of what restores
and rests you.
Then let there be
Then let there be
Let there be
laughter in your mouth
and on your tongue
shouts of joy.
Let the seeds
soaked by tears
turn to grain,
to bread,
to feasting.
Let there be
coming home.

Used by permission from the author, Jan Richardson

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