Joy: refreshing and real

The Bloganuary prompt of a couple of days ago (I always seem to be behind) was:

“What brings you joy in life?”

“Joy” is a rather over-worked word these days. I used to think of this word as meaning “extreme happiness,” the kind that makes you scream and shout and shed tears of…well, joy. Now it seems to be commonly used to describe a more muted kind of contentment or pleasure.

I will go back to my original sense of the word, I think. Here are three joys that I picked that can actually stir up my emotions:

Kingston Harbour, sparkling and blue in the morning sunshine. The bright reflection in the distance is the sun shining on an aircraft that had just arrived at Norman Manley International Airport. A brilliant flash of joy, for some who are waiting there. (My photo)

Joy would be meeting any member of my family at the airport, anywhere. Our family is scattered, with one sibling in Australia, and another in the UK. Our son is in the UK. It’s hard to describe the feeling of almost euphoria I feel (and try to suppress, so I don’t make an exhibition of myself in public). Of course, the converse is also true; saying goodbye to any family member at the airport is agonisingly painful for me. It involves a lot of tears.

Here’s the gorgeous male American Redstart. When we see a little flash of golden orange in the hedge for the first time each year – that is joy.

Joy would also be when I see my first-arriving migratory bird, which is usually in August/September. This is always the brilliant American Redstart, flicking its tail with flashes of gold (in the case of the female or sometimes a young one) or deep orange (in the case of the male). This joy lasts until they leave for the southern United States around April. Always the first to arrive, and the last to leave, these birds spend a large part of their non-breeding lives in Jamaica (and in my yard).

Joy is writing. Quite simple. It is more than a pleasure. Whether anybody reads it or not, it doesn’t matter. I don’t write on scraps of paper. It has to be a keyboard and a screen. This brings me the greatest joy – and I have to renew it every day, if I possibly can. If I go for a few days without writing, the joy seems to peter out.

So, yes – joy is renewable. If my own personal joy seems to be flagging, then social media (if very carefully selected, of course!) can bring it to me vicariously. If you curate your feeds, you will find something genuinely joyful there every day. Not fake, manufactured joy (there is quite a bit of that, too) – but the real thing.

Joy can be renewable, and joy must be genuine.

I took this photo from my hospital window, the evening before I had surgery. I am not sure whether it brought joy – perhaps peace of mind.

4 thoughts on “Joy: refreshing and real

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