Tears and Joy

lake.summer.7-27Today we say goodbye to that sweet soul I mentioned last week.  Ian’s dear friend Malachi passed away at 8 years old from brain cancer.  He was a joy to know and made us laugh so much.  Now as I remember him, it is with laughter through my tears.

His funeral is this afternoon and one of the hardest decisions I have ever made as a mother was deciding to have us not go.  You see it’s been hard enough for Ian to process the loss of his friend, much less attend a funeral mass in his honor.  So Kirk and I thought that school and his regular routine would be better for Ian.

Not sure if this was the best decision but Malachi’s dad totally understands.  And, that is a great comfort.  I don’t feel so guilty for not being there in person.  We are there in spirit and praying for the family and friends who have lost this amazing young man.  We are hurting too and clinging to our fond and funny memories.

When we met him, he came right up to Ian at preschool and said “Hi.  I am Malachi.  What is your name?”  Ian told him and they went to play together.  Then a few months later when Ian started full-time, Malachi made a point of saying, “I remember you.”

boys-9-6-2016Each time the boys played together, they had so much fun — whether it was Playmobile, Lego, or cars, they made up stories, made each other laugh, and shared.  Both were only children and got along really well.  They were a joy to watch and listen to.

Selfishly, I wanted to see the two of them grow up together, stay friends, and maybe room in college, go on vacations together, and so many other ideas.  But that was not to be.  The Lord had something else in mind.  So now, this amazing soul is in Heaven having a great time.  We miss getting to see him but are so thankful he is no longer in pain or suffering.

There are some people in our lives who come in and make an amazing impression and he did just that.  He lived an incredible and rich life for someone so very young, he had faith beyond measure, and a wonderful sense of humor.  He loved to help people and joke around with them as well.  He never met a stranger and enjoyed his time with family and friends.

I have learned a lot about friendship, faith, loss, joy, tears, laughter, and so much more from both Malachi and his parents.  I feel that my family is blessed beyond measure to have had these friendships. I will forever be thankful they came into our lives when they did.

May we all savor those relationships we have, make a point to tell those we love them, hug our loved ones, be there when they need us, and remember to laugh and enjoy life.  It is a gift and each day is so very precious.  May we also have joy.

Finding Joy in Your Life

joyMy husband and I recently watched the fantastic movie, The Bucket List.

This movie stars Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson.  According to IMDB, the movie is about, “Two terminally ill men escape from a cancer ward and head off on a road trip with a wish list of to-dos before they die.”

It is a great movie.  I too have been thinking of items on my bucket list.  There are so many things to do, places to go, and people to spend time with.  Many things to ponder.

There is a great line in the movie said by Morgan Freeman (one of my favorite actors).  It is actually two amazing questions.

“Do you have joy in your life?  Has your life brought joy to others?”

According to Webster’s Online dictionary, Joy is defined as, ” the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires: delight; the expression or exhibition of such emotion; a state of happiness or felicity: bliss; a source or cause of delight.”

Delight, bliss, state of happiness.  Wow, what an amazing word Joy is and what great meanings!

These are two profound questions to be sure.  Do I have joy in my life?  I think that I do — perhaps not every day but it is there.

There are a variety of items that I would call joy in my life.  The joy of learning something new, the joy of my first job after college, the joy of a beautiful song sung by a choir or on the radio, the joy of a sunrise over the neighborhood, the joy of my son’s laugh, the joy of someone finishing their chemo treatment, the joy of finding out a friend’s brain tumor was removed.

In addition, Joy for me is seeing my son get excited about learning another letter or word as he is learning to read.  Joy is also writing something that had been on my mind to share with others or taking a picture and then seeing how it turned out.  Joy is also discovering a new author whose book I can’t put down.

Joy is going on a date with my husband and having a chance to talk without Ian interrupting us every five minutes.  Joy is relaxing at our house as a family.  Joy is reading a good book with a warm cup of tea with honey.  Joy is talking to a friend on the phone after not hearing her voice for a long time.

And, the second question — Has my life brought joy to others?  That is the harder question.

I like to think so.  I know I usually bring joy to my husband and son.  We do have our moments like any family does, but life for the three of us is pretty good and we are indeed blessed.

Also, I hope I do so with other family and friends.  Without asking, I don’t really know.  I am an optimistic and happy person by nature and try to see the best in everyone.  I hope that translates into sharing joy with others.

I also try to be positive, kind, and loving to others and hope that they can see that joy does exist and being joyful is possible.  Sharing and showing love for others is one great way to bring joy to someone else.

My joy is provided by my Lord and Savior.  His love for me gives me joy that I like to share with others.  I think the way you live and treat others is so very important!

I remember singing a song in vacation Bible school, “I’ve got that joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart, Where? down in my heart today.”  Do you remember that one?

Having joy in our heart is great and can easily be shared with those around us.  It is certainly better to have joy in our heart than jealousy, anger, hatred, worry, or any number of other emotions.

It isn’t always possible to keep these feelings out of our heart, but I think we can strive to find happiness and joy.

I hope that you have joy in your life and can bring joy to others.  May we strive to do so.  I wonder if we can truly be joyful.  I hope and pray that we can.