Monday, July 02, 2012

Measuring Joy

I was up really early on my birthday, just thinking, thinking and thinking - like I guess everyone does on birthdays, anniversaries and some holidays. Nora Ephron had just passed and I had gone and re-read some of her essays and other musings. I was touched by the advice she gave to younger women and kind of amused by (but in disagreement with) some of what she had to say about aging. Thinking of her and other women who lived uniquely, or fully, I got to wondering about what it means to live fully. What I came up with is, it's not about having a busy or fabulous career or family or adventures. It's about personal and individual pleasures and contentments. It's about joy, or at least, that's what I believe.

So then, what is joy, and how do you measure it your joy?

Can't measure it by the money you have. Money is too easy to lose. Money buys things that can deceive you: power but not respect, respect but not love, fear but hatred... It goes on and on. Money is only as good as the person who has it.

You can't measure joy by the number of friends you have. Friends are as flawed as you are. If friends were the complete foundation of an individual's joy, then there'd be no despair or grief or suicide of a person with friends. Friends are pieces of joy, not the finished puzzle.

Joy isn't what you look like, who you love or who loves you. It's not sex or food or good music or theater.

Maybe joy is that thing that is only indescribably sensed - not by sight or touch or sound or taste or smell. Maybe it is a sense itself, except real and whole, like God. It exists and always has. It seems to be without a known beginning, like creation itself, but given a beginning, like the first breath to an infant.

I have joy just as I have faith. They are, I think, very alike.

And... R.I.P. Nora Ephron