Joy is Contagious

Consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. – James 1:2

Nobody wants to admit to this, but bad things will keep on happening. Maybe that’s because it’s all a chain, and a long time ago someone did the first bad thing, and that led someone else to do another bad thing, and so on. You know, like that game where you whisper a sentence into someone’s ear, and that person whispers it to someone else, and it all comes out wrong in the end. But, then again, maybe bad things happen because it’s the only way we can keep remembering what good is supposed to look like. –Jodi Picoult, novelist “Nineteen Minutes”

Pure, uninhibited joy is undeniably contagious.

We arrived at the cabin mid-afternoon. I brought my kids here to persevere joy. This is where their dad came with his family as a boy. This is where we should be.

My children wasted no time throwing on swimsuits and becoming married to the water. They jumped amongst activities striving to keep up with themselves! Wading in the lake, going down the old- metal slide at the shallow end, steering the paddle boat, fishing from the dock, building sandcastles, splish-splashing with Uncle John, playing royalty on the floating dock, tickled by a boat ride.

Showering off for supper Maddi was giddy from the day. “I want to stay for 100 days,” she told me.

Jordan serenaded us after supper with a song he made up about pickles. Each verse summing a pickle with the previous one. "I have one pickle…Hey! Hey! Today! Today!” Then two pickles, three, five  and soon ten. It didn’t take long until Aunt Kathy and the rest of us were singing along.

Cousin Tyler asked Jordan, "Did you like building sandcastles this afternoon?"

"Let me ask my brain," Jordan responded with a pause. The day had been so full, he needed time to let it all catch up. "My brain says yes. So, I must like it."

Here is my joy. A quiet night. The kind I can’t wait to write about. Sun setting outside my canopy-screen window. I come alive. The early evening rays meet the top of the water as if the two have just been introduced. It’s the glisten that tells me they’ve known each other for a very long time.

I wish I could describe the hues swirled with deep pinks and plums. Soon they will change to midnight blue. But, aren’t the best pictures the ones that words can’t wholly capture?

Is happiness relative? If I had no other skies to compare with the lake shore blue would I really be able to say this particular night is exquisite? So delicate and appealing is it safe to define this as joy?

Each day we encounter reality. Do we expect to find joy in our day? If joy seems to elude us, can we change our expectations? Can happiness be a part of our passing moments regardless of circumstance?

Tonight Jordan told me that his highlight from the entire day, one filled with four-wheeler rides and zip line swinging, campfire songs and marshmallow roasting, was the three minute “paddle boat ride I took with you.”

For me it had been really just a time filler, a reaction on a whim, something to do before Maddi woke up from her nap.  My son’s reality? Time together, regardless of length, is what made his day.

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