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A small but mighty word.

The word itself seems to exude its essence. The “J” looks like an extended hand inviting you to join in, the “O” looks like a giant bubble and the “Y” seems to stand up and jump for….well…Joy!

The Dalai Lama once said, “Happiness is something ready-made. It comes from our own actions.”

I agree. Happiness stems from the choices we make each day and tends to be circumstantial. Happiness happens “to” you and works its way from the outside to the inside. Happiness is flaky. You can’t rely on it. It comes and goes, maintaining constant Visitor status. A nomad that has no home and just flits from person to person, like a butterfly.

Then there’s JOY.  Always readily available, it’s a gift from God that comes from within and it’s a choice. Sometimes it’s a hard choice. But the option for Joy is always there and it’s accessible to everyone, no matter the circumstance. It happens from the inside-out. It’s an internal explosion that bubbles up and seeps out through your actions and your words, overflowing onto whatever is around you. It’s contagious.

So am I saying Happiness is inferior to Joy?

Absolutely not. I need the butterflies, the sunsets, a good movie, homemade cookies and clean sheets to balance out the local news, the mundane, the stinky diapers and the Brussels sprouts of my days just like the next person does. But we would be wise not to rely on the strength of fragile butterfly wings to carry us through our days. Happiness is delicate. We need the exuberance and vitality of Joy to sustain us in the times when Happiness is gone.

So today I’m thankful for the gift of Happiness and all that she brings. I relish the enjoyment of looking for her as she pops up throughout my day. I appreciate what she offers.

But I know that in her absence, and even in her presence, there will always be Joy.

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Carrie Davis

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