One of my very favorite quotes is by Fra Giovanni Angelico…
The gloom of the world is but a shadow.
Behind it, yet within our reach is joy.
I learned of that quote through my favorite artist… Tasha Tudor. Tasha tended to use this quote with the idea of doing whatever it was that made her happy. She even admitted more than once to being a bit hedonistic when it came to life. But then again, perhaps we all have a bit of that tendency. To put our own happiness first. A lot of Empty Nest talk mentions says now it’s “Me Time,” or “Us Time.” You know, we sacrificed all those years, and now it’s time to do whatever WE want.
However, I seem to remember something from Sunday School when I was a little girl that contradicts that thought pattern. My teacher, Miss Naomi, wrote J-O-Y in really big letters across the chalkboard. She talked about Joy, and how it was different than Happiness… how it goes deep down inside, and how you can be full of Joy, even when things aren’t going so well. And then she gave us a little acronym to remember when we thought about having Joy…
J – Jesus first
O – Others next
Y – Yourself last
Strangely enough, I don’t think that expires when the kids leave home. Our parents and grandparents didn’t hang up their “Retired” sign. They’ve been there with us through every crisis and I don’t think we’d have made it this far in life without them. Their Sunday School teacher must have taught them the same lesson. Or maybe they read Brother John’s entire letter, which equates Joy even with the trials of life. I’d like to find that balance while ReFeathering. Sure, we’ve been tickled pink this week to put on our PJ’s at 8 o’clock, and I’ve been able to find an hour or so to do the “Calgon, take me away” thing. And we do have some plans for the house and for the business and for us. But somehow I’d like to keep a proper perspective on Joy and where to find it. And please feel free to remind me of that when we get into the nitty gritty practical stuff of ReFeathering these next few weeks!