{Lessons from Haiti} Joy.

1013925_10151671825220982_666692307_n (1)“The very nature of Joy makes nonsense of our common distinction between having and wanting.”- CS Lewis

Meet Pastor Fontaine. He’s the kinda guy you want to be around. He’s always happy! Always singing, always saying “thank you”, and always praising the Lord. He’s the kinda guy that makes you realize the difference between what you have and what you want. He doesn’t have a car, doesn’t have electricity in his home, and doesn’t even have a simple gold wedding band to show off (he sold it for tuition money to help his kids). And yet, he has more than I have ever had. He has pure joy!

When he walks into a room, whether it is filled with women, children, or men, the environment changes. The room softens and smiling faces abound. When he is faced with obstacles great and small, he gets through by humming songs to the Lord and thanking him for strength. And when things are going well, he’ll burst in song or dance just to make sure the entire room knows what happiness looks like.

He’s the kinda “guy” I wanna be. You see, I get caught up in the wrong things and let the joy get sucked right out of me. I focus on what’s going wrong and what’s never going to go right. I focus on what I don’t have instead of rejoicing over what I do. I focus on what the Lord has not done in my life instead of faithfully waiting for the breakthrough I have been promised. Pastor Fontaine doesn’t do that. He has taught me the importance of a joyful heart.

A joyful heart focuses on what’s going on right now. The simple moments of pure bliss right in front of you. Maybe it’s a cool breeze, a sweet scent, or a loved one standing beside you in the storm. Maybe it’s a smile from a child, a song that wells up in your spirit, or laughter with a friend. A joyful heart gives strength (Nehemiah 8:10b) when things aren’t going well. It’s the confidence builder and the jump starter. It’s the fullness (Psalm 16:11) that comes from being OK when things aren’t OK. A joyful heart is a faith filled heart, friends (2 Corinthians 1:24).

I want to lay down the negativity and pick up the fullness of joy! It may take a while for me to grow into a “joyful way of life” because of my nature, but I am confident that if a man in the mountains of Haiti can be joyful with nothing, I can.