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Joy!

Early start this morning – a wee trip to Dundee for BBC Radio Scotland Thought for the Day. Here’s what I said:

I don’t know about you, but in the last few days I’ve been very glad to say goodbye to Storms Doris and Ewan and to enjoy the sunshine. It’s felt like a long hard winter – from political unrest to economic uncertainty; from famine in South Sudan to the stretched resources of the NHS at home, there’s plenty in the news for us to worry about.

But in the midst of all our legitimate concern for the trouble around us, I can’t help thinking we risk losing something important – the hope that our woes are not the be all and end all. So this year, through season of Lent, I’m focusing on something different. Instead of thinking of it as a time of penitence and for spring cleaning the messiness of my life, I’m concentrating on what Lent is intended, ultimately, to let us experience. And that is Joy.

In the Christian faith, life is always lived with the prospect of joy; the life, death and resurrection of Jesus mean there is always hope for a better future. But joy is available in the present too, because the world God created is good.

So from now until Easter I’ve taken up a new practice, to create space to notice and give thanks for what is good in life. I’m asking myself the same question every day: “What has made today the best day”? And in my answers, I hope to find joy.

As I reflect on living in Scotland I’m aware that I’m incredibly fortunate to live in a beautiful corner of the world, and in relative comfort compared with people in many other countries. So I want to notice and embrace my good fortune, as a gift to be received gratefully and shared with others – because joy is infectious.

Joy might come in all sorts of places: in a beautiful sunset, when I hear a good news story, or as I watch my dog run carefree along the beach. Or perhaps it comes through a conversation or in a chance moment of connection.

As the days get longer and spring begins to make its presence felt, it’s a good time for us to notice what’s joyful in the world around us. And perhaps our moments of joy can bring joy to others, too.

Oswald Doglet (my spaniel) has taught me a lot about joy. He is, it’s fair to say, pretty easily pleased, with countless moments every day where he seems to be having the *best* time! I suspect he’ll be a regular feature in my #JoyChallenge.

How about you? Where are the places you might find joy each day?

 

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