I've Got Joy, Down in My Heart!
I just read a draft of a blog post I wrote awhile back and the old children's song we used to sing in church came to my mind, "There's joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart, down in my heart, there's joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart, today!" I don't know about you, but that little ditty is now going through my mind, over and over again. And, it is making me smile!! And, sing! Out loud! Loud! (My husband is going to wake up and wonder what in the world has happened to his wife!!)
But, back to the topic at hand - living with joy. I really do. Do you?
The little ditty I mentioned above has another verse that says, "I have a peace that passes understanding down in my heart, down in my heart ...."
It's true. I am in the battle for my life, yes, but I am at complete peace with it. I know many of my friends who are in this same fight feel the same way. If you saw us all in a room, you wouldn't have any idea that every one of us has late-stage lung cancer, that many of us are undergoing chemotherapy, and that some of us are nearing the end of our days on earth. Nope. You would see laughing, joking, smiling ... joy.
If you had told me that's what I would see before I learned I had cancer, I would have called you c-r-a-z-y. I was certain that people with a dire diagnosis would be anxious, scared, depressed, anything but joyful.
With the ups come the downs
It isn't always easy to live joyfully. We're all human. We all want more time with our families and friends here on earth. There are milestones that every single one of us wants to cross before we die: a new baby, a graduation, a wedding, an anniversary... (And once we pass one of those milestones, another takes its place! We'll never cross every single one off of our list.)
Those who live with joy do not let the fact that we might not be here to celebrate a future event steal our happiness at being alive today. We have learned to live today, letting go of yesterday and realizing that tomorrow will take care of itself.
Finding your joy
How? How do you get rid of those anxious thoughts that threaten sometimes to consume you? That's a question that comes up often on the various forums where I participate.
It takes conscious effort sometimes. When negative thoughts enter your mind, give them validation (if they deserve it) and then send them on their way. Don't let them stay past their welcome (which should be a very short time).
Yes. It is scary that we are sick with a potentially fatal disease. But, really, life is fatal. There are none of us who are going to leave here alive ... Some of us might die from cancer, some from a heart attack, some from a car accident - we don't know how, but we do know we will.
Send worry packing
But, here's the thing. If you are spending all of your time worrying about the future, you have given away today. Fretting about tomorrow won't change its outcome. But, it will mean that you won't enjoy now, this day, the time that you have right this minute.
Smile! There's much joy in today! The singing birds, the greening grass, the soft wind blowing through the trees, the ocean waves, the mountain breeze - we don't know what tomorrow may bring, but today! Today, we are alive!
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