This morning, in a "daily good" email newsletter I receive, I read a 2005 report written for Inside Bay Area by Jill Tucker, titled "Little by Little." It was an account of how an 11 year old student in El Cerrito, California decided to forego birthday presents by asking her friends' families to donate money that would help children in a small impoverished village in Tanzania to improve their lives. The article touched my heart, and a few of Tucker's words struck a lovely note that resounded in my mind. She wrote, "But alongside the poverty, there is unavoidable joy..."
I've been considering those two words with some amount of wonder, not only for their placement in the chronicle I read, but because they inspired me to contemplate where they might apply in my own life. I realized that I'm not really intimate with the word joy. I've thought of it as a word meant to convey only the most profound sense of gladness. But when I looked it up in my dictionary of synonyms, I was really surprised to read that it means delight, glee and pleasure, words that have less gravity in my mind. It appears that I have been laboring under the false impression that joy was only for the most heart-felt occasions!
Now I understand why pairing the word "unavoidable" with "joy" was not the challenging concept I imagined it to be. In fact I'm delighted and quite gleeful, actually, to realize that joy is very much a part of my daily existence, not only unavoidable, but inevitable. I am very fortunate.