Thoughts on life from Pat Oaks
I have been thinking a lot about joy lately. Joy as opposed to happiness. There IS a difference and we have all heard THAT sermon!
Joy is hard. You have to concentrate to achieve joy. Happiness just happ—ens. You can be walking down the street feeling down or depressed, or simply melancholy, and bang! All of a sudden happiness just drops down right in front of you! It could be a rainbow, or a bluebird (which is the bird of happiness as we all know) or just a friendly person greeting you as they pass you on the street.
I wrote a story about that last comment in my last book “Little Big Apple.” It was a hot summer day and we were living in NYC. John boy had gotten a pair of shoes in Manhattan and they didn’t feel good after he wore them around the house. I was taking them back to the shoe store. On the way home, I wasn’t paying attention and got on the fast train. When you ride the fast train in NY it doesn’t stop at all the stops like the slow train. (Well, THAT was brilliant!)
When I realized what I had done, I got so mad at myself. I ended up in Spanish Harlem. I got off the train and walked to the other side of the platform. No big deal. Except it was. I waited and I waited and I waited. Finally I decided just to walk home. That’s no big deal, except it was hot and it was about 25 blocks back to our apartment.
As I walked I fumed. What a miserable day! I could have been doing any number of things but instead I am stuck out here in the blazing heat walking home. Mumble mumble mumble.
As I walked across a bridge that spanned a highway, I looked ahead and there was only one other person on the bridge. He looked like a young boy. As I drew near, I saw that indeed it was. He looked to be about 10 years old. As we started to pass each other, he stopped dead in his tracks, looked at me right in the eye and said “well…HELLO!”
Of course I said hello back and we went on our way, but I wasn’t the same person who started across that bridge. All of a sudden, it didn’t seem so hot. All of a sudden I was fairly flying across that bridge. All of a sudden I was HAPPY. Happ—iness, just Happ—ened to drop into my lap. Or, in this case, fall all over me!
I wish I practiced living in joy all the time. I don’t but I try. I am reading through the Bible again, something I try to do every year, and this week a scripture jumped out at me. It is so appropriate for all the stuff that is going on in our world today. I hope it does you as much good as it did me, and I pray that your joy would be made full and complete in Him this day and in the days to come.
Matthew 24:13,14. “Staying with it—that’s what God requires. Stay with it to the end. You won’t be sorry, and you’ll be saved. All during this time, the good news—the Message of the Kingdom—will be preached all over the world, a witness staked out in every country. And then the end will come.” Also, in that same chapter in verse 5 or 6 (hard to tell in The Message Bible) it says, “keep your head and don’t panic.”
The Psalmist also says that “weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5 (KJV)
For this, and other stories by Patricia Ann Combs Oaks, click this LINK!