By Steve Goodier
Thomas Aquinas once said, "No one can live without joy." But
many people try. And the reason is often simply because they don't know how to
be happy! They are so intent on the three Ps -- power, prosperity and prestige
-- that they miss out on joy.
Try to imagine this picture. It is a photograph taken by Henri
Cartier-Bresson, who pioneered modern photography as an art form during the
early decades of the 20th Century. He became known for his photographs of
apparent contradictions: pictures that left mysteries unexplained.
One of his famous photographs was shot in a poor section of
Spain in the 1930s. The picture depicts a run-down alley surrounded by decaying
walls, strewn with rubble randomly stacked in thick piles lying on the street,
and riddled with bullet holes dotting gray walls. The setting alone evokes
feelings of sadness and despair.
But then...the contradiction. Within the grim alley children are
playing. They wear dirty and tattered clothes, as one might expect in such a
setting, but like playing children everywhere, they laugh with carefree joy. In
the foreground, a tiny boy on crutches hobbles away from two other boys, his
face lit up with a broad grin. One boy is laughing so hard he has to hold his
side. Others lean on the cracked walls, beaming with delight.
It is easy to spot the contrast -- and the point. Joy amidst the
rubble of life. Laughter amongst its ruins.
We cannot avoid pain, however hard we try. But we can avoid joy.
We cannot escape hardship and trouble, but we can miss out on much of life's
peace and laughter.
If you feel as if you could use more joy, try this:
time daily doing something you enjoy.
those things that bring inner peace.
to laugh heartily and frequently.
Cultivate within yourself an attitude of hope.
each day with as much love as it can possibly hold.