A handful of things have happened in my life lately that have me pondering that question.
A friend sent me an email encouraging me to cherish each moment with my children. She was sharing her secrets about how to find joy in the monotonous and demanding tasks of motherhood.
I attended a Christmas production at a mega-church. The event was a disappointment but every church member I encountered there was so sincerely kind, welcoming and joyful.
I heard a college friend speak about her missionary work with the deaf in Mexico. As always she was witty, humble, praising God and clearly joyful.
With my first encounter I felt guilty, but also unfairly guilted. I completely missed her point and it took me a long time to remember that we are to do the things of our vocation with joy, even if we don't like it. This is a basic Catholic teaching, yet I've wanted an exemption from it for so long I started to believe it just couldn't apply to me.
By the time I got to the Christmas production I was impressed to see true joy being lived out. This isn't to say that I don't know joyful people or that I've been living in a joy void, I just think that I've been lacking it for so long that I was no longer looking for it. Maybe I didn't want to see it.
But when I saw my friend present I felt myself identify it and want it. I want to be that kind of person again. I want people to want to be around me because I am sincere and warm and other-centered. And I want them to notice that their encounters with me are different than with other people and the reason for that is JOY.
I am tired of being grumpy, whiny, entitled, angry, annoyed. Today needs to begin my return to joy. And not because I'm supposed to be that way, but because I crave it and I don't want to live without it.
I am going to start by popping in to see Jesus at an adoration chapel. Any other suggestions?