I’ve always thought that joy is one of those most surreal emotions, and I have been blessed to experience it many times throughout my life. I’ve felt joy when I held my newborn niece for the first time, when I rode a camel on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, when I climbed to the top of the Tower of Pisa and stood on angle, and when I came face to face with a manatee in the wild. During each of those experiences I felt such a rush of pure happiness, it can only be described as joy.
Joy is surreal because even when it’s expected, such as holding a newborn baby, the power of it is unexpected. It hits you smack dab in the heart and the head at the same time, and the ability to fly doesn’t seem so impossible if only for a moment. The uncommonness of joy also makes it otherworldly. In our everyday lives, most of us don’t jubilantly hop through our days with big, goofy smiles on our faces. First of all, we might attract some unwanted attention from the loony bin police. Secondly, most of our days fluctuate from quiet desperation to quiet contentment. That is fine. I don’t want joy to be an expected, commonplace emotion. Its unexpectedness and uncommonness make it that much sweeter.
In the midst of those joyful moments, a voice outside of myself always whispers, “Remember this. Remember what this feels like. Hold onto this joy.” And I do. I grab the memory, fold it up, and tuck it in a little part of brain where I can revisit it again and again. I visit when I have a crummy day at work, when I feel insecure about my writing, or when I miss my dad.
Now, I can’t say I always remember to think about my joy when I am mad, sad, annoyed, or all of the above, but when I do, I feel better and quiet contentment returns. Call it “going to my happy place” if you will. However, I think of it more as remembering a tiny glimpse of what it must feel like to be in God’s heavenly presence.
So now, I share my latest source of joy with you. It is the official book cover of MAID OF MURDER. I received a proof of the cover last week while I was working at my desk in the library. When I saw the cover for the first time, I yelped so excitedly and loudly, staff members quickly clustered around me and my boss came out of her office to see what the commotion was about. (Oooops… sometimes I forget librarians are supposed to be quiet folk.)
With the release of the cover, all of a sudden this book publishing thing has moved from the abstract to the concrete with joy guiding it along the way. I’m not sure what will happen when I hold the actual book in my hand, but fainting is a real possibility. However I react I’ll be sure to let you know.
Have a blessed Christmas full of peace, love, and most of all joy!