Thursday, May 05, 2011


Over the past 14 years I have taken time  to listen for
a 'word for the year'.
These words have had a huge significance in my life.  
It started out by chance where I really was in a dilemma and needed wisdom.  I took some time for silence and the word that emerged from that time of silence was 'wait'.  It was not the word I particularly wanted to hear at the time.  But I paid attention to it, and responded to it.  When I would feel agitated or restless with my situation, I would go back to that word, and it sustained me.  I realized it was a word I would learn how to 'live into'.  It became a symbol of my spiritual path to be attentive to this word over a long period of time.  
Over the years, there have been many words to live into.  A couple of years ago, the word was JOY.
Joy was a word I heard a lot growing up - I knew we were supposed to feel joyful.
However, I knew that I could never muster up joy by sheer will power.  I also knew that I wasn't currently feeling much or any of it in my life.
To recognize this put me in a serious quest for joy.

How does one attain joy?
Where does joy come from?
Who do I know that actually is joyful? (couldn't think of hardly anyone!)
when is the last time I felt joy and how did that happen?

I started watching people around me and looking for joy.
I started becoming even more aware of the lack of joy in my own life.
It was during this time that a quote from Brother Roger became very significant to me.  Brother Roger was the founder of the Taize community in France.  He was a contemporary and friend of Mother Teresa's and I have been profoundly affected by his life and writings.  Brother Roger spoke of drawing from the 'well-springs of joy'.  It was an image that spoke to me of joy coming from a place deep within....well-springs....something that I can draw from that is beyond my own humanity
..something deeper than myself.
 It is like being a tree and allowing my roots to go so deep into the earth that they find rivers of life in the darkness that sustains them.
Going 'in and down' within ourselves is not such an easy thing to do.
It takes times of silence and of 'just being'.
But what I have found as I have allowed myself to do that - is that 
I have tasted of a deep Love.
I have tasted of something that is far deeper than myself and so beautiful.
I have had water from a very deep well and it has fed my soul.
In this well, there is joy.
Joy that is beyond the deepest sadness
Joy that is stronger than any fear
Joy that liberates the heart
Joy that exudes LIFE
I do not feel JOY all the time  - but I have tasted enough of it that I am hungry for it all the time and want to continue to learn how to draw from this well in deeper and deeper measures.
Joy has an amazing effect on our relationships and surroundings.  I have found it to be contagious once someone is carrying it.  I have found it can also disappear quickly by just a word or a glance.
Joy speaks to me of a life of HOPE
and a belief that Love exists
and that Love sustains all things
If you have thoughts about 'joy' I'd love to hear them.......


Anonymous said...

THanks Cath--you have inspired me to search for joy in the midst of really difficult times....I know finding joy doesn't happen overnight, but is a real journey....thanks for sharing your heart yet you, Joleen

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