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I've written pieces on having joy for others on my blog in the past.  Suffice it to say, feeling joy for someone else never gets old. There is enough of it to go around. Yet, at times it appears no one feels quite akin to going to that depth for others outside of their family, nor close friends. And it seems many times, we are in witness of quite the converse direction of humans towards one another. No wonder why, there is so much illness in even the most well-to-do towns in our country.

 Illnesses that effect the brain, the heart, the blood pressure and so forth. It is not joy in our souls for one another that causes such distress in our societies. It is pure and simple the hatred, jealousies, vindictiveness which causes worries, and all other forms of disharmony within the human vessel that it is thrown from and tossed at.

Joel S. Goldsmith in his 1964 book, “A Parenthesis in Eternity”, speaks of this in the book’s introduction. Taken partially from his Christian Science healing experiences along with other religions he’d studied and practiced. He apparently held a belief as our first family doctor, Dr. Samuel Loman did. As I’d not just heard it. Yet witnessed at age eight in his treatment room with my mother during a physical exam with me.

Dr. Loman turned to my mother who had several maladies, which were born from not just the physical mistreatment by others to her. Yet by what those physical mistreatments and psychological tortures did to my mother’s health. Creating anxiety and adding to life’s common worries that most of us eventually either reason out or we cope with barely a repercussion from. As he held my wrist, looking at my mother he said, “Worry will cause heart and stomach problems. That’s’ what keeps me busy.  If people didn’t have so much worry, I’d be a ton less busy.”

 Obviously, that was a pivotal moment in my understanding illness. It was the infancy of the birth of my thinking that if I could control my breathing, I would have a better life. If I could worry without stressing my blood vessels and heart, then I could cope and have less or no common illnesses that plagued our society then and that plague our society today. And I never forgot that day in Dr. Loman’s office.

 As luck would have it, my Dad was not calm and soothing as my Mom. He was rough, belligerent, your basic run of the mill bully. My Mom cried for other people, prayed for other people. She felt other people’s pain and losses, deep. And she did not come from all that caring and compassion, yet she had that depth. She could also feel joy for others. To what length I have not a clue.

 What I do know, is I can pray, cry at will for another human being who I don’t even know. I can feel someone else’s loss that I’m not directly related to. Yet, I can also feel someone else’s gain, their joy. And I revel in it. I revel in it so much, that I experience a high level of joy that brings a smile to my face, tears of joy to my eyes, and my soul feels fulfilled as if for a lifetime. It is though I get high on my own air supply. Breathing in the joy, even when I’m pained the joy for them supersedes my pain. It can last and does for more than twenty-four hours, easily.

 So, yesterday morning, as I headed out for a ten-mile run. I saw a neighbor out walking. She walks about twice a day, first alone and then in the afternoon with her husband. When I saw her, I decided to take baby steps jogging alongside her walking. As I did so, we chatted for about a mile. I told her that the fact that her husband survived a cancer that was supposed to put him in his grave a decade ago, gave me so much joy.  Back then, the medical community had all but given up on him, stopping treatments. I remember that near ten years ago I got the news from her about them having to move her daughter’s wedding from October to two months earlier to August. For he was not going to be around long enough, nor able to walk his daughter down the aisle to be wed in October.

 That day ten years ago, after I gave her a hug, I left to go for a training run. Within in a mile I called a priest and a minister. I requested prayers for healing. And I prayed for more than that run I can say. I prayed hard. Hard like no tomorrow in near tears, I prayed. I pained. I felt heart-sick. You’d understand if you’d ever felt heart-sick for someone. It’s as if you don’t know whether to throw-up or crumple on the ground and cry. It is just that deep. And it’s oh so painful.

 So, yesterday as we chatted on the move. I told her how happy I am everyday when I see her and her husband out walking. It lifts me with such joy, it is beyond belief. Even at times just thinking of the miracle of him living and walking and being able to experience being a grandfather makes my heart happy, filled with joy.

After explaining my joy for her and her family to her. She said, “But we feel so bad for you. You just lost your husband.” I replied, “Yeah, I know. But you see I know things happen for a reason. I’ve reasoned why it all came to pass. Yeah, it does suck. I’ll admit that. But someone I know is doing great. And that fills me with joy. I’ll take that any day. I really enjoy feeling good for others.” So, joy brings health setting me upright on my feet, making gains on the life I have left here on earth. ---Jody-Lynn Reicher




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