This morning I wanted to write about finding Joy in the Journey. What is joy?
According to the dictionary, here is the definition:
Full Definition of joy
a : the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires : delight b : the expression or exhibition of such emotion : gaiety
a state of happiness or felicity : bliss
a source or cause of delight (1)
I’d like to focus on two things. The first is the idea that joy is the emotion evoked by well-being. When talking about well-being, I am not going to expound on success or good fortune at this time. Instead, I want to talk about inner well-being or peace. I remember talking with a friend years ago. I felt like life was crazy and out of control and needed some advice. She told me that I couldn’t change the circumstances around me but I COULD change me and how I reacted to those circumstances. She said, “Imagine being at a busy bus station with people, choices, and things flurrying all around you. You need to get to a place where you can feel calm and peace in spite of the hustle and bustle.” To me, that is joy. While we can’t be “happy” all of the time, we can find an inner peace and contentment. It is a process to do so. You need to take time out daily to fill your spirit and your emotional bank up with good things so that you have something to give back to others.
The second definition I’d like to focus on is the last one: a source or cause of delight. That statement alone brings me joy. There are so many moments in my life from which, if I only stop to pay attention, I can feel SO much joy! I look at my children, my husband, my church family, and everything I have been blessed with and sometimes am overcome with joy.
My mom used to often quote us kids, “Take time to smell the roses.” Whenever I hear that quote, I picture walking with my oldest son when he was just a toddler. I was trying to get from point A to point B while he was fascinated with every insect, leaf, and flower surrounding us. I often had to pause and allow him to wonder and explore on our walks. While this was frustrating at the time, now it is a cherished memory. Isn’t that so often the case? “Sometimes in life we become so focused on the finish line that we fail to find joy in the journey.” Dieter F. Uchtdorf (2) So true.
As I was pondering about joy this morning and my own journey, I ran across this talk and loved what it had to say.
“This is our one and only chance at mortal life—here and now. The longer we live, the greater is our realization that it is brief. Opportunities come, and then they are gone. I believe that among the greatest lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not. I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and nonexistent future when you will have time to do all that you want to do. Instead, find joy in the journey—now.” Thomas S. Monson (3)
My youngest son is in the play “The Music Man” at the charter school next weekend. In preparation for his play, we decided to rent and watch The Music Man last night as a family. The music was beautiful and fun. All six of my children were there with us, sprawled out on the couch and carpet. Yes, a joyful moment. What I loved most, however, was watching my youngest son light up and spontaneously sing several of the songs. Now that is joy! One quote that stood out to both Dave and me from the movie was something that the main character, Professor Harold Hill, said.
“You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you’ve collected a lot of empty yesterdays.” (4)
I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that it is full of a lot of empty yesterdays. I want to live and cherish today!
I leave you with one last quote that I found:
“It is our duty to be better today than we were yesterday, and better tomorrow than we are today.” Larry R. Lawrence (5)
May you find joy in YOUR journey! If you’d like, in the comments below, answer this question:
“What Brings YOU joy?”
Thanks for reading!
- Thomas S. Monson, “Finding Joy in the Journey,” Ensign, October 2008.
- Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Of Regrets and Resolutions,” Ensign, October 2012.
- Meredith Wilson and Franklin Lacey, The Music Man (1957).
- Larry R. Lawrence, “What Lack I Yet?,” Ensign, October 2015.