Finding Joy

Aaron - Manheim, Pennsylvania
Entered on October 20, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

Rarely do things go as planned. As often as I think things through and formulate a plan or structure for how they should come to pass, I am reminded that I don’t have a clue. I have no clue what tomorrow will bring, what I will do after college, and absolutely no idea how the eagles will do this season.

I believe in Joy.

My aunt had been fighting cancer for over a year when she passed away leaving her husband, two daughters, and an entire loving family behind. It is not fun to watch someone battling with all they’ve got and believing for a healed body, only to see them weaken and decrease in health. Eventually there was nothing that could be done by doctors nor any specialist or friend. It was this heartbreak that forever changed my perspective of life.

Through all of the physical and emotional scuffling my aunt had endured, her heart remained strong. Not through the encouragement of her friends or the prayers of her family. Not through the hope of the doctors or the success of other stories. She had found true joy: A joy that filled her entire being and radiated from within her. She knew she had no control over the result of this terrible ailment, but she also knew she had a purpose and her maker had a plan for her. There was nothing for her to be concerned with.

My aunt had plans. Plans to grow old with her husband. Plans to be a grandmother and watch her daughters begin their own families. Plans to continue her career and plans to celebrate the holidays with loved ones.

I learned one of the most valuable lessons through my aunt. Life throws some interesting and sometimes unfortunate curves your way. No, not all circumstances are fair, but we all have the same ability and capacity to react to these obstacles in our path. I like when things go my way. I like when the results favor me, and when they don’t it is easy to get bent out of shape. It is at these times when I’m challenged the most by the life of my aunt and I realize the only thing I have power over is my own attitude; and I choose to have joy!

So when the windshield wipers on my car stop working, when I get the short end of a deal, and even when the eagles lose, I already know what the outcome is. I extinguish the spark of a negative attitude and choose joy.

Life is short and I have no idea where it will take me. Through the joy I’ve found, I have been able to love everyday and let it affect my life, rather than letting life affect me. From the smallest obstacle to the largest adversity I choose joy because I have so much to be thankful for, and quite honestly, life just isn’t fun without it!