Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Joyful “Sort of” Story

Melly tagged me to find a post about joy. (More on that follows.)
I can’t imagine anyone would be more surprised than I was to find so much joy on my blog. I chose about half of what I found to tell this joyful “sort of” story.

My dad left home at age 12. It was 1919. He knew the hardest sides of the world. When he said, “trust nobody,” he knew what he was talking about. It was one of a litany of lessons he shared daily. I saw the signs of those lessons written on his hands, his back, and his face, but not in his eyes, never his eyes. His eyes only spoke hope and joy.

I’m definitely my daddy’s girl. . . .

Usually I’m a Weimaraner puppy, chasing over nothing just for the joy of living—sometimes to the point of wearing myself out. I can break your vase and fetch a stick, but no one trained me just to sit and wait for my whole future to take its time to come to me.

Finally I got to an age where I gained a little sense. I quit taking the blame for everything on the planet. My skin seemed to fit just fine most of the time. I realized that I was a best judge of my behavior, and most importantly, that I was cheating myself if I didn't enjoy—note to self: see the big word joy inside that verb—every second of contentment this planet has to offer. I quit flinching at my own happiness. I went back to thinking that the world is beautiful and that people are the best species God ever created.

Some nights, like tonight, I reintroduce my brain to my heart. All of me just kind of hangs out together and reacquaints itself with the quieter, introverted side of me. Grand ideas—peace, joy, and beauty—fill my thoughts. Now it’s no big deal to relax, waiting for morning to take in a sunrise or daydreaming under the night sky. It’s hard not to feel alive when you’re looking at the night sky. Imagine we’re made of stardust and you can’t help but feel good about the world.

Duncan says that the world needs incurable idealists like us. He says we balance out the hardcore cynics. It has to do with joy, and hope, and possibility. I like the thought of providing balance. So I hold tight to my world view, even though I know that people can do despicable things. I don’t want despicable people choosing my world for me. My world needs people who believe in it as much as I need people who believe in me.

But there are days, and this is one, when friendship sees to shine, when reason sets itself aside to make room for feeling good. Suddenly I understand that I have things that others see only in their dreams. I have friends who are the best of those around. It’s hard not to enjoy a world that gives and gives and gives so much. It’s even harder not to love the friends who make it turn. Every one of you.

I love the joy of gratitude.

Thank you, Melly, for asking me to do this. Putting this together was a joyful thing.
—me strauss Letting me be


toadman said...

Thanks for helping me see the joy in my own writing that I didn't even know was there!

ME Strauss said...

Hi Toadmaster!
Great to see you here.
We have a great group.
You should stick around and meet us sometime.

mojo shivers said...

I don't know if I'd find the word joy in my blog. I think I use bliss more than joy.

Bliss just sounds nicer.

ME Strauss said...

Okay, Mojo,
Bliss sounds nicer to whom??

One might think that a writer who prefers the sound of the word bliss would avoid saying that to a writer who has just proved an obvious attachment to the word joy,.

I like bliss too, but it doesm't mean thte same thing to me.

Besides, don't you think ectasy is really the superior word?

Mark Daniels said...

What a great post!

I feel that all of life is gravy, an undeserved gift of grace from God. Of course, I haven't gone through the very worst that life can bring to people. I haven't been an Indonesian whose family was wiped out by a tsunami. I'm not an Iraqi living with the daily threat of car bombs. I'm not an evacuee from New Orleanan wondering where I will live.

Yet, these circumstances can bring more joy to my life if I will adopt a life style of empathy and compassion and share hope along the way.

I love the line in this piece, "I don’t want despicable people choosing my world for me." That was how my daughter and I felt on the evening of September 11, 2001, when we booked flight reservations for a Christmas trip to Germany. We very consciously said, "Osama bin Laden isn't dictating how we live our lives."

Blessings in Christ,

ME Strauss said...

Hi Mark,
Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you got to see this one. I knew you would find it uplifting.

You and I agree on so many things, such as your attitude about September 11.


Cheryl said...

Sounds like fun!
Enjoyed reading.

ME Strauss said...

Hi Cheryl,
Hey thanks.
It was a neat experience to go back and read them.

Bluesky_Liz said...

A kind of wake-up post. I'm reading this in the morning and it's a nice way to start of the day to read a post like this one.

I can't find the word 'joy' in my blog but I have definetly found some joy in the act of blogging itself. I have the joy of gratitude for the friends I've made through blogging, that's for sure! I think it has changed me somewhat. I am happier these days even on not-so-great days. :)

ME Strauss said...

You may not be able to find the word joy in any of your posts, but your presence has added joy into the blogsphere. We love having you around to add your insights and your views on life to our discussions


fineartist said...

Liz, the joy of your spirit speaks loudly in your blog fir me always.

When you tell of being the best judge of your own behavior, and that you learned to stop flinching when you were happy. Oh my gosh, I can SO identify with this sentiment. I found my own filter when I was in my twenties, trusting my own intuitions and reasoning. Following that I finally began to allow myself to experience joy too. I still wonder why I thought it was so important to not be too happy. I suppose it has something to do with fear. Fear of losing that which I love, or some such psychological garbage.

Anyway, thank you Liz, for saying it far better than I can.

Oh, uh, I, er, tagged you for a meme, please don’t kill me. Heeee. Love ya, MEAN IT! Lori

ME Strauss said...

Hi Lori,
Thank you for your encouragement. If you reached a place of owning your own happiness in your twenties I think you might have been ahead of me. I think I was still in charge of carrying the woes of the world on my shoulders back then.

As far as the meme goes, I think of an appropriate punishment . . . :)


fineartist said...

Heeeeeeeeeeee, rot row.

ME Strauss said...


melly said...

Liz, perhaps you were surprised by the amount of joy, but it didn't surprise me. I expected just that. You're always full of joy :)

Beautiful post. Your joyful moments and reasons for being joyful are so much more profound.

Nice one :)

ME Strauss said...

udtumznhAh Melly,
So there was method to your madness. Thank you again for asking me to do this. Revisiting these moments was a good thing.

It's nice of you to have noticed.


easywriter said...

This was perfect. Thank you ME and Melly. I'm glad I got to share this.

ME Strauss said...

Gosh, Easy,
You sound so happy.
I hope that means this week is going well for you.

You're welcome to all of the joy we can pull together for you. I know we both think you're the best.


garnet david said...

Liz- What a delightful foray into your past, your past posts (i didn't know you were so young!) and your joy.

your, G

ME Strauss said...

I'm not sure I know what you mean by so young. . . I'm not, but thank you.

And thank you for the compliments.

but you found WAY more joy than I.


garnet david said...

Actually, my joy search showed a lot of enjoys, which sort of count, but not quite.

Your blog is young, at least by your archives.


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