Webster's dictionary defines joy as "a feeling of pleasure or happiness that comes from success, good fortune, or well being".
In Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium he says, “1. The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew. In this Exhortation I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by this joy, while pointing out new paths for the Church’s journey in years to come.”
Every individual has a choice to be joyful in his/her circumstances at any given moment, or not! Last week when the primary grades finally had the opportunity to enjoy the new playground, as Fr. Bob said, "It was pure joy." Those children's faces expressed a simple happiness; they were just happy "to be" and to enjoy their time with their friends.
With the busyness of the days and our schedules being so demanding at times, we often can lose sight of the moments that could have been spent joyfully-being with our children (even if in the car on the way to/from a given activity), a quiet few minutes at the end of the day with our spouse, a friend, or other family member. Every time I hear laughter coming from a classroom, at the playground, or in the hallway, and the students are simply enjoying the company of each other, that brings me joy! I try to find moments that I can laugh about a funny joke or some moment in my own life that is amusing, and possibly unexpected. Fr. Bob likes to see the best side of every situation and he encourages us to make/take time to "laugh" about some of the things we cannot control and to not allow the momentary circumstances to diminish the day God has given us. I appreciate his perspective and it challenges me to take moments to stop, have a conversation with God, discuss a matter with those who may be able to help me, and to then proceed with a more "open and joyful heart". Truth be told, I as well as all of us, sometimes find that easier some days, than others. At any rate, we can strive to do better. I have a painting in my office that says " Life always offers you a second chance. It's called tomorrow.", that was a gift from a student years ago. I try to live by that , when speaking with students both in and out of my office, and I remind them that the choice is theirs to make.
Enjoy the cool temps of this weekend, and take some time to soak up the joy that surrounds us in this wonderful world that God has created for us.
Yours In Christ,
Rita M. Klenk