It was so delightful that you could smell the perfume of joy sweep the room.
She was in her 30’s and had been diagnosed with a psychotic illness. Voices in her head were her constant companion. She was into some New Age stuff mixed with Catholic teachings and a liberal dose of Joyce Meyer. It was a happy meal combo that suited her.
So when I asked for people to give a message or sermon on one of the Beatitudes she jumped at the opportunity. She chose to speak about what it means to be meek.
With a couple of photocopied sheets from easy to read commentaries and devotionals she went off to study and pray.
I met with her a couple of weeks later to discuss what she had written.
She had read and mulled over the topic to where she decided that meekness was all about being in control. She discovered that the classical Greek word used to translate meekness was that for a horse that had been tamed and bridled. She instantly connected this with her voices. That there was an element of being disciplined, of being under the direction of a master tamer, that the voices needed to be brought under submission. That with Jesus, the help needed, would be there.
So the evening came when she was to deliver her message. I had sat with her and we had crafted the words together. She stood there and read them out to an astonished group of fellow struggler’s. She had nailed it.
There was joy. Joy in my heart for what she had done. Joy in her heart for the achievement and for the connectedness with her friends.
She shared this message with her family and friends. Photocopy after photocopy was made and distributed.
When I recall this story I remember a Jesus story where he describes a woman filled with joy.
“Or imagine a woman who has ten coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and scour the house, looking in every nook and cranny until she finds it? And when she finds it you can be sure she’ll call her friends and neighbors: ‘Celebrate with me! I found my lost coin!’ Count on it—that’s the kind of party God’s angels throw every time one lost soul turns to God.” Luke 15: 8-10
Joy comes as by-product of something that was lost, now found.
Joy comes as a by-product of empowerment of a gift.
Joy comes from those things and those people who most would consider small and insignificant.
You see, something within her was given the outlet to express itself. Something deep that was hidden under all the labels and symptoms. It was a gift that needed to be given.
There is a party going on and you’re invited. Not to be a wall flower spectator, but to be a participant in joy.
How do you get to that party? What opens the door to joy?
Be still and take notice of the small.
Quotes to consider
- Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are. Marianne Williamson
- I sometimes wonder whether all pleasures are not substitutes for Joy. C.S. Lewis,
- Joy isn’t simply a feeling. Joy is a response to a certain states of affairs that have been changed, created, to which there is a particular way of responding. Miroslav Volv
Questions to consider and leave a comment.
- Where have you found joy in the small?
- What is required to find joy?
- Have you ever discounted a moment of joy? Why?