It’s not that I’m not happy.
I actually am very happy. I have a great husband, beautiful children, a warm house. I have awesome neighbors. A fun job. I get to travel. I even forget sometimes that I can’t walk, that seems to be the only “downer” in my life.
But I guess I just want something more. I don’t want to just be “happy,” I want to be joyful. I’ve read in the scriptures that men (and women…) are that they “might have joy.” But does that really exist? I mean for regular people like me. The ones who don’t belong to a gospel choir in a Hallmark Christmas movie, does that feeling really exist?
And if it does, where can I find it?
In my prayers, I’ve been asking Heavenly Father to show me where I can find joy. I want some of that. It has to exist or the scriptures wouldn’t suggest that we can have it. Right? I hope so. My life is good, but I just know – I just know – that there is something better.
I hustled and got my two beautiful daughters into my car. We had on coats and shoes and socks because it was raining and we don’t go barefoot to the doctor. We were already a little late, as we often are. I was a little bit stressed (okay, a lot stressed) because I knew that once I got to the doctor it would still take a good 10 to 15 minutes to get my wheelchair, me, and my girls out of the car and into the office, which, of course, would make me even later than I already was. Oh well. It is what it is. I tried to count my blessings and remember that I do have a car, insurance, good doctors, and we are all relatively healthy. We have so much to be grateful for. It doesn’t matter that I’m a little late.
As I drove, I fought the stress of being late by singing songs with my girls. It helped keep me semi-smiling when I wanted to scowl, furrow my eyebrows, and drive maniacally through the rainy streets. It was going to be okay.
We were not even out of our neighborhood when I saw a woman standing in her driveway. I did a double-take because she looked very, very fancy. She was close to the garage, apparently in an effort to stay out of the rain and not flatten her amazingly big hair. She was wearing the color turquois from her shirt, sweater, and jacket to her pants, socks, and shoes. And her jewelry (all the same color) was dripping off of her. She looked awesome. And I felt that I should tell her so.
I smiled, because she really did look awesome. But I didn’t have the time to stop and tell her that. I was already late for the doctor and I was going to be even more late, even if I hurried. But as I kept driving down the neighborhood street, the feeling persisted. Seriously! Was this a real prompting? Was the Lord really suggesting I take the time to stop and compliment someone when I was so late for the doctor? Is it really that important? I turned the corner and kept driving. The feeling got stronger. I was feeling crazier. I didn’t have time for this!!
I pulled my car over to the side of the road. I needed to pray and quickly ask if this was really needful. As the rain beat down hard on the car roof, I folded my arms and asked God if what I was feeling was really a prompting from the Holy Ghost. I told God I was late. I told Him that there was a chance we’d miss our appointment completely if I was too late. Does he really want me to go and tell this lady that I like her style? Was this really that important?
I didn’t get an answer.
But the feeling didn’t go away.
I’d rather be wrong and have at least tried to do something good than to be right and miss my chance. I flipped my car around and sped back to her house. She was still there, standing under the awning of her house in the driveway. I rolled down my window as I came closer and spoke loudly through the rain to tell her she looked good. I told her I loved all the turquoise.
She came close to my window and laughed as she told me that the color wasn’t turquois. It was aquamarine. She told me that she was born in March and the birthstone in March is aquamarine. She told me how she loves to wear aquamarine. She told me about all of her rings, each one. She had lots. She told me who gave them to her. She told me where she was going and who would be there. She told me about her neighbors and all of their names. She told me about her family and all of their names. She told me about her family’s neighbors (and all of their names…). She told me about her grandchildren (and their names) and then named each of her great-grandchildren. As she talked, I got antsier. I was going to be very late for the doctor. My children were in the back wondering what we were doing since I told them we were already late. But even though the rain was making this lady’s hair flatter, she went on. She told me who was going to pick her up, where they were going, who would be there and who wouldn’t be there (and why).
I listened pleasantly, forcing a smile. If my stress about being late for the doctor showed, it wasn’t bothering her in the least!
She was pretty quirky and a lot fun. We waved as we pulled out of her driveway and so did she. I was smiling as I drove. I wasn’t speeding anymore. We were going to be late and there was nothing I could do about it. And that was suddenly okay. I kept smiling. I didn’t have to force it. It wasn’t fake and I didn’t have to work hard to keep it there by singing.
We were almost out of the neighborhood again when I got a message from the Holy Ghost. He only said one word. It was an identification of what I was feeling. He just said “joy.”
I had found it! It was on the side of the road in the rain wearing aquamarine. It was actually surprisingly easy to spot – it looked a lot like a lady who needed a listening ear. And it felt a lot like awesome.
There is more. There is more than living “contented” and “happy.” There is a feeling, an exclusive right of the Holy Ghost, that is available to all of us when we respond to the promptings to serve. Many are called, but it’s those who toss aside their schedules and do what needs doing who discover that they, too, are chosen to live a life that is not just happy and blessed, but joyful.
I hope you have happy Christmas, but more than that, I hope you find a joyful life. It’s a lot closer than we might have once thought.