Joy was always out there- the key words being "out there." Interestingly as I was invited to post on Journey to Joy, I had a blog brewing on this topic. I was always sure that even in the storms, in the peril, and through the pain, joy awaited.
I look back and have found many times when I was able to find joy. As a young lad, I could always seem to find a bunch of it every Christmas morning. A trip to the mall to get my new school clothes would definitely fit the bill. A puppy. A new bike. Ice cream.
Joy was simple, abundant and obtainable. I didn't have to look far, travel much, or struggle to find those things that brought me joy. They seemed to simply manifest. Maybe that is why I did not spend much time looking for it. It appeared like the morning sun.
I have always been blessed growing up to have a roof over my head, food in my belly, and loved ones surrounding me. However for some reason, once my life's odometer turned into double digits, the usual difficulties of teenagers set in. Daily struggles became as predictable as pimples on prom day and joy seemed to prove to be a bit more elusive.
"I don't have enough for the Jordache jeans, so I guess I have to wear Wranglers."
"Dude, can you spot me a few for gas money?"
"Why don't girls like guys who are in the chess club?"
Ah, yes - the big issues. It sure was rough being a teenager in America. Joy seemed to runs away as fast as we chased it. Broken hearts, scratched CD's, and parental dictators made the world a cruel and formidable opponent.
Fortunately the distance between here and joy was often narrowed with dances, football games, and handwritten notes passed in the hallways allowing us to forget the “doomsday” that was yesterday. Sometimes.
Adulthood - the point where we finally get to celebrate our liberation and make our own choices. We are now free to make our own decisions forgetting that the bad ones can be as useful to our growth as the good ones.
We go from being parented to parenting. I have often said: "Kids and golf - the most fun you can have being pissed off!" (I adore my kids)
We don’t have to ask for money anymore, yet now we have to earn it. This pungent ingredient in life's mix is often the machete that severs our tether to the security of our dock. This coveted item often causes some of the most joylessness in our lives. Whether it be abundance or abandon, money can paradoxically hide the path to joy like no other.
It is often the "things" we seek joy in that are often the things that contain the least amount of it. Titles, adoration, money, power, toys, and treasures are what many place as the true north on their compass in their journey to joy. This compass has a wavering polarity held in place by the magnetism of our soul.
I have found in my journey to joy, the further I searched, the further I ventured, the longer I traveled, the further I distanced myself from that which I sought. The more I cast my eyes down the road, the harder it was for me to see what was right in front of me.
The lighthouse we seek to lead us to joy must first have a beacon burning inside of us. We will then see the lights that shine, often illuminate the path to the same place. It illuminates the spaces closest to us.
It is in these familiar spaces we reconnect with our soul. Joy is not as much "out there", as it is inside of us awaiting release.
Once the beacon is lit, we then see bathing in that light, those around us who support and love us. The joy and wealth in life is found in our relationships and our ability to recognize them.
Joy is not found in a destination, but the path we tread upon and those we venture with.
In our journey to joy we should not resign ourselves to the exclusive appreciation for those people, and experiences around us currently, but to continue to open ourselves to the new experiences awaiting us. Both the pleasant and the punishing cultivate the people we become along our way.
Along your journey, find solace in the fact that in your preparation, you are going to encounter potholes and bumps. You will encounter things that test your emotional shock absorbers. However it is with gratitude and appreciation for those you journey with and encounter along the way that make your journey to joy a soul nourishing adventure.
Thanks for walking in my journey with me! Return here often for friends to accompany you in your journey as well. Godspeed...
After spending a quarter century in the beauty industry, Tony realized his passion had shifted from what was happening on the outside of people to what was occuring on the inside. Years of listening to other’s stories led him to seek a deeper spiritual understanding of how all things are connected. Tony’s own challenges and experiences give his writing a warmth and compassion, and are shared through the perspective of a “regular guy.”
Tony is an active blogger and a published author and his work can be found on:
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