Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Joy (05/18/06)
TITLE: What are You Smiling About?
By Del Gibbs
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Well, to my utter dismay, it was “Joy.” Bummers! That’s worse than prosperity. Why joy? I don’t feel joyful. Why couldn’t it have been on trials or tribulations? That, I could write about. Why not stress or anxiety? Betrayal would have worked. I could write a book on suffering and pain. But joy? Sorry, that just isn’t going to happen.
But then I remembered this guy, Rory, I used to work with. Rory was always walking around with a smile on his face. Made me wonder what he was up to. What was his problem? People like that are scary. I used to wonder what he was really like, you know, at home, when no one else is around, when he doesn’t have to put on the act. I’ll bet his wife could tell you a few stories.
Rory and I went our separate ways and I didn’t see him for a number of years. But one day, standing in the grocery store squeezing tomatoes, I heard someone call my name. Low and behold, it was Rory, still smiling ear to ear. You could see all 32 of his teeth. And his wife was just the same, in fact, I think she may have had sixty four!
I finally asked him, Rory, what is the secret of your happiness? You don’t seem to have a care in the world. His answer came as a bit of a surprise.
Turns out, his wife has an illness for which there is no cure. His business has been going through a difficult reversal. He was in an accident and he’s in pain. And to add insult to injury, he’s now looking at the possibility of being sued. His problems made mine look pretty small.
“So why are you always so happy and I’m on a perpetual bummer?” I asked.
At that, Rory told me that his life was not about happiness. Happiness depends on happenings, he explained. If my happenings are good, I’m happy. If my happenings are not good, I’m not happy.
He said it was not about happiness. It was about joy. Joy taps into a source that runs much deeper. It is not dependent on surface issues. It flows from a well that runs from deep within.
I bruised a lot of tomatoes over the next half hour as he expounded on the subject and even though it didn’t make the produce man very happy, it was okay, after all, it’s not about happiness. I found out I can have joy even while I’m paying for twelve pounds of bruised tomatoes.
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