There is happiness and then there is joy. Happiness makes you grin, giggle even, and put a spring in your step. Joy’s grin and giggle moves on up your whole body.
It can make you sing and dance simply because you feel like if you don’t, you’ll bust. Know what I mean?
It’s like happiness is more shallow and more temporary, while joy, under the right feelings, is more permanent.
We have all known joy. I know I have. But I’m here to tell you, a certain church in Winchester, Ky., a long time ago, brought me joy with a capital “J,” and I know it was joy and not just happiness, because I can still hear the music and tap into a deep joy.
It was a musical celebration, and by the time it was over I could taste joy, smell joy, and hear joy.
Everyone hugged and shook hands as a welcome when they came in the door. I thought to myself, if the purpose of the evening was to make a joyful noise, that’s what I felt. There was sort of a combination of peace and excitement, and then the music began.
I hope I do this justice. Now, I love music, almost all kinds. The choir sang. While they sang, they could not stand still, so they moved in place, used their hands as they sang with conviction and with joy.
How do you put soul into music? I don’t know, but they did just that. It was like they crawled right inside the music and brought it to life. I’m telling you, I couldn’t sit still in it either.
I started to look around the room. There were the very young and the very old, black and white, crippled and strong. And almost everyone was toe-tapping as they were filled up with the music.
Finally my brain began to understand what was going on. Most of us give of ourselves all we have to give every day. We do this by choice, but the trouble is that if we “empty our buckets” every day, we will run dry.
We can run bone dry; that is, unless in some way we’re filled up again regularly. We can not give what we do not have.
All of us from all walks of life are trying to be filled up again, so we can go out and give it all away again. And that’s what the music was giving us that night.
It took me hours after getting home to calm down. I talk a lot about everybody needing a place in their head where they can go and find joy and peace. Well, the church that night gave me a new place I can go. I just hope I never forget the feeling of joy the music gave me.
I often wonder why it is that good music, and I stress good, is a sure way to a feeling of joy. Somehow it goes deeper, whereas talking just doesn’t quite do it sometimes.
Because the purpose of this column is to take you by the hand to find your peace and joy, well, that’s why I wanted to share this with you. If you’ve never had this experience through music, try it. You might love it.
The view from the mountain is wondrous.