The Tragedy of a Joyless Life

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Dear Reader:

Do you, ever like me, think about the time-line period you are living in and give God thanks for letting it be now and not some other time in history?

After Hugo blew through in 1989 I realized that there were no “good old days” before electricity for me. I was so miserable in those first few weeks following the storm….no air-conditioning, mosquitoes, bad-smelling refrigerators, non-functioning stoves/ovens,  no commode flushings…..I would  practically have ‘sold my soul to the devil’ during those days in exchange for the electric power to come back on.

It really made me re-think history and how I taught it. Every Thanksgiving when we would stop and study the exploratory period when the Puritans first arrived….I could only imagine how dreadful the conditions were….starvation, cold, and death awaited them that first year.

Certainly the extremely difficult times encouraged joylessness….but so did the the strict rules of the Puritan religious practices. If you ever study tombstones dating back to the 1600 and 1700’s….you might as well give up finding a positive or encouraging piece of scripture engraved on them.

Like the tombstone in the title photo….telling the world that man’s existence is only like mist that quickly evaporates and disappears… is not a particularly comforting thought to go out on.

The other day I found a piece of paper where I had started writing down some ideas for my memorial service soon after my initial diagnosis of breast cancer (I remember jotting down some thoughts in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep after chemo treatments.)

For scripture readings I wrote….“Ask our minister (we just had an interim minister then) to choose a few scripture readings that deal only with the word joy.” One of my song selections was: “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee.”

When I step back and reflect on my life… it is the joy of our Creator walking beside me on my path through life that has brought me the greatest joy of all. I have “Little c” (cancer) to thank for bringing me closer to God and for allowing time for our relationship to mature and deepen.

Now I have my children, grandchildren, friends, and garden to help  sustain the joy God brings me on a daily basis. I discovered my passion for writing again and it has become my constant companion.

The blog is not inanimate…it expresses my thoughts, as well as, my being while becoming an extension of the passion for life within me.  It brings me such JOY!

Dorothy Sayers (English writer) once said: “ The only sin passion can commit is to be joyless.”  Amen!

*I remember watching a young couple and their small children on a talk show (maybe it was Oprah) a few years ago… the young mother was dying of cancer…in fact she died only a few days after the program aired. She was amazing, however, in her upbeat attitude about life, her family, and her new journey that was about to begin.

The husband returned to the show a few months later to answer the mystery about something that had come up earlier. In the first program the mother had talked candidly about her preparations for her last resting place. She was upbeat, funny, and remarkably calm about everything happening to her. I sat there watching her in total admiration.

She had found a beautiful spot on a bluff overlooking a river for her final resting place and she had written her own inscription to be put on the headstone but she wouldn’t tell her husband or family members what it was. She kept grinning every time she mentioned it but said she wanted it to be a “surprise.”

Her husband told the audience that when he got the call that the headstone/marker was up and ready for viewing….he didn’t know what to expect…certainly not what he found inscribed… which read:

“Please move…you’re blocking my view.”  In the midst of tears he found himself roaring with laughter…his wife’s last gift to him and the family had been humor, laughter, and joy for the life she had been given.

(We’ve come a long way from the Puritans’ ideas about strict religious laws and serious demeanors….thank goodness.)

So until tomorrow: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice”  (Phil. 4:4)

In the movie Sister Act 2 Whoopi Goldberg plays a “singing nun” and choir director who leads her young contemporaries into this rocking, joyous (finale scene) version of  “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.” (It will certainly set the tone for this day, this joyous day)

Joyful Joyful With Lyrics (Ft. Whoopi Goldberg) – YouTube

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

  • joy_pbYesterday I ran by Anne’s house and dropped off this latest novel… written by an author we both enjoy reading. It is called “Joy for Beginners”… but I told Anne she was already quite proficient in this arena….(through her new passions in painting, photography, traveling, and philanthropy-always had that.)

 

*For Christmas Kaitlyn gave me an air plant that I keep on the counter in my bathroom….the beautiful silver-colored container has marble-like stones of all different colors of blue hues. (And all I do is lift them out every (week to ten days) and water the bottom stems and then replace them.)

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Late yesterday afternoon when the winds  picked up….the sun started shining through the clouds for a few minutes turning the new section of the fence a light pink color.  I thought how pretty this plant would look on the fence …I was not disappointed. Inside or out this air plant brings me joy!

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About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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