I’m a month late with my One Little Word post. I originally thought there’d be two posts, one a reflection on 2016’s OLW, and then this one. But I’ve decided that although I’ve done quite a bit of reflection, it’s too late to justify two posts.
My 2017 word literally leaped out at me in November while reading a blog. I lived with it for several weeks, and time and again I’d find another reference to it that resonated with me. So I’ve been living with it for awhile, and for many reasons, believe it will be a significant talisman for the year, particularly give the political climate in the United States.
I purchased and framed this print for my office.
JOY is the word for the year. For me it flows easily from SIMPLIFY and MINDFUL, my last two One Little Words. The kind of joy I’m speaking of is not the stuff of dictionary definitions, but joy that is rooted in gratitude. Our church chooses a theme for each year, and in September we began a focus on “reconciliation.” Again, it seems a remarkable choice given the divisiveness that is so rampant now. Our pastor gave a sermon on “Reconciliation and Joy” in December---one of the many connections that occurred after I chose my word. In it he quoted a theologian, Daniel Hardy, who wrote that, “Where there is vulnerability and sorrow [joy] still appears, but adversity alters its character to . . . trust and perseverance.” It speaks to me, but I’m under no illusion that it will be an easy task.
The only book I finished in January was The Book of Joy by The Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. It, too, speaks to the ability to find joy regardless of your circumstance and has a wonderful section at the end of daily practices. Last year as part of my Mindful practice, I took a course in mediation and did quite a bit of reading about it. I never did establish a daily practice, but I do practice some mindful techniques on a daily basis, not the least of which is I’ve pretty much abandoned trying to multi-task. Many of the meditative practices in this book seem very doable to me. Now that I’m back into routines at home, I’m hoping to give a couple of them a try.
The best definition for joy I’ve found so far is “Happiness is an emotion and temporary; joy is an attitude of the heart.” (Randy Alcorn) So I’m off to try to find joy in the every day through reading, photography, volunteering, and creative pursuits. I’m going to struggle through the hard times, remembering how very grateful I am for my many blessings. And I’m going to move on with both SIMPLIFY and MINDFUL, because they too have proven to be good words to live with.