We search for love
We desire peace
But do we embrace joy?
We talk about love, about peace, about happiness. We desire these things most of all. But where is joy? Where is our joie de vivre? Do we even know what this is? What it means?
I recall a simple song sung in youth group years ago, taken from a verse in the Bible; “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy and peace”.
What is this word, this phrase? What does it mean in life? We often think the greatest emotion is love, the greatest feeling is peace.but rarely do we talk about the greatest joy in our life. The greatest emotion, feeling, word in the world.
As I explored my life, read about becoming who I want to be, embracing a life I want to live, I discovered the French phrase joie de vivre, simply put, an exuberance for life, a joy of everything. What is joy but an emotion of great pleasure, exuberance, delight, happiness.
I rarely hear people use the word joy these days, less yet talk about their lives joyfully, sharing their exhilaration and delight in the momentous occassions, let alone the simple things that occur each day that bring pleasure.
Have we forgotten this word, this emotion, this feeling? Have we become world weary, worn down by the daily grind. Where is our zest for life, for living moment by moment, for exploration and experience? Where is our recognition and understanding that joy brings a great happiness, a powerful emotion that fills our whole being as if our heart and soul and being were the sun lighting us up from within.
What lights us up? What gives us this beautiful feeling of happiness and wonder? When I think of happiness I feel it is an overall, ongoing state of being. As if it were the only thing to strive for. Yet happiness is not sustained and cannot be, for it is only one aspect of life with its ups and downs and twists and turns. To strive to be always happy sets us up for failure.
But when I think of joy, I think of the small things, the day to day. What joy, what pleasure in the doing and seeing and hearing and feeling. The expression of the moment. The simple things. And when I think of joie de vivre it expands this feeling of joy into an outlook on life, a new way of living and being. It changes my perception, becomes concrete, possible. I consider embracing this exuberance for life. I engage, become active, and begin to look at how I can fully partake of life, finding joy in the day to day, adding meaning, and changing my outlook.
The more I do, the more joy I feel, it begins to grow, expand and embrace all that I do. My eyes open, I hear, speak and feel alive. Joy fills my mind, my heart, my being, my soul. I become joy, I welcome and embrace a joyful life, a new way of living. I step into the joie de vivre of living life fully, cheerfully, accepting and seeing anew what my life involves.
I have discovered the gift of the spirit, the gift of life, in a simple three letter word, once forgotten and shelved, now made visible and lived. What brings you joy, enlivens and energises you? How do you live a joy-filled life? How can you embrace joie de vivre?