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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Joy (05/18/06)

TITLE: What are You Smiling About?
By Del Gibbs


It was Thursday and time to see what the new subject was for the Writing Challenge. I didnít participate last week. The subject was ďProsperityĒ and I blew that one off real quick. Iím the last guy you want to come to for a lesson on prosperity. Just ask my credit card company. So what would the subject be this week?

Well, to my utter dismay, it was ďJoy.Ē Bummers! Thatís worse than prosperity. Why joy? I donít feel joyful. Why couldnít 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 isnít 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 doesnít have to put on the act. Iíll bet his wife could tell you a few stories.

Rory and I went our separate ways and I didnít 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 donít 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 heís in pain. And to add insult to injury, heís now looking at the possibility of being sued. His problems made mine look pretty small.

ďSo why are you always so happy and Iím on a perpetual bummer?Ē 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, Iím happy. If my happenings are not good, Iím 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 didnít make the produce man very happy, it was okay, after all, itís not about happiness. I found out I can have joy even while Iím paying for twelve pounds of bruised tomatoes.

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This article has been read 667 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 05/25/06
Loved the title. You have some great lines here, ie: the 32 and 64 teeth, happiness not being found in happenings, and that one about the tomatoes was hilarious. The message was apt. Good job.
Ann FitzHenry05/25/06
Very strong ending. It made me smile. :-)
Patricia Williams05/26/06
cute ending. Good job.
Rita Garcia05/26/06
I love this take on joy! The ending is wonderful! Well written!!
Jessica Schmit05/27/06
Awesome. Your stroy flowed extremly well. Your message was perfect and not forced. You did a very good job with this one!!!
Helen Paynter05/27/06
Just happened on this piece by accident. Love it! The end made me laugh out loud.
Helen Paynter05/27/06
What I forgot to add was that the piece would stand perfectly well ( I think better) without the first 2 paragraphs. If you watch the MBs, you'll know that Deb says people are very unlikely to place if they refer to the challenge in any way in their piece. It would be a shame for you to disadvantage yourself in that way becasue I think you've got real talent.
Valerie Routhieaux05/27/06
Loved this one, especially the ending. Gave me a real reason to laugh, and have that deep hidden joy come to the surface.
Have to agree, the reference to the challenge should have been deleted.
Steve Uppendahl05/28/06
I love this piece. Great message with great humor. Very impressive.

So, how many cans of tomato sauce did you make?
Edy T Johnson 05/31/06
This is absolutely delightful, and polished to boot. You are destined for higher levels, if you keep up this caliber of writing. I am very impressed, and I'll have to put this in my "favorites," so I find out who you are. I want to read more :) God bless your writing!
Edy T Johnson 05/31/06
p.s. I hope you place, even if the Message Boards warn against your "writing challenge" introduction. I happen to think the way you began your story was quite charming and did a nice job setting the stage for what follows. One opinion, anyway!