Rejoice. And choice. The two words aren’t ones we expect to find used together. When something wonderful happens—a son’s engagement, a friend’s negative biopsy report, our being tapped for a long-awaited promotion—we rejoice. Even something as trite (but true) as a late summer sunset brings joy to our souls.
Rejoicing. Joyful. Isn’t that the way we want to greet each new day? But minds filled with to-do lists, hearts busy with wishes and souls heavy with worries—these all distract, and we can come to the end of the day having missed out on joy. What we forget is that we have a choice to involve ourselves in activities that can lead us to rejoicing. It’s not a passive proposition, waiting for the next good thing to come our way. It requires our initiative.
It starts with paying attention to our lives. What are we good at? Making soup? Reading with children? Organizing events? Painting—walls or landscapes? Ask: How might these skills help others? Where are they needed?
Clearly it’s our choice to pursue joy. This isn’t a solo endeavor, however. Never has been. Rabbinic teachers have said joy comes form “collaborating with God in our destiny.” With such a partner, surely we can be on our way to rejoicing. And each of us will find her own way.
Today we remember John XXIII, bishop of Rome (d. 1963) and The Martyrs of Uganda (d. 1886). This message was adapted from “Choosing Joy” written by Kathleen Kastilahn that first appeared in the July/August 2011 issue of Lutheran Woman Today (now Gather) magazine. Subscribe to Gather for articles about faith, action, comfort and community.