Thoroughly Alive

We must hunger after the beautiful and the good...


Joy and the Statues

When Joy was still a tiny thing, wrapped warm and close in my mother's womb, her name was given by a friend. The world had yet to glimpse her infectious smile, the arch tilt of her little girl face was yet to be revealed, but whenever this one friend of my mother's prayed grace for the unexpected miracle of a fourth baby for my mom, she called the baby "Joy." The friend told my mom, who also took up the habit and soon, baby Joy was named for good.

It was a serendipitous naming. One of those divine accidents in which the name both prophesied and described the child it graced.

Joy has embodied her name since babyhood; there is a vivacious spirit within her that spills laughter to anyone lucky enough to be in catching distance.

I got tickled at one point during our trip as I began to notice that everywhere we went, doctor's office, restaurant, church, Joy's comments sparked chuckles like sparks from the hearts of the people around us. On our harried visit to the clinic for her possible spider bite, she was talking to my mom on the phone, describing the drama and sympathy that would be the silver lining to hospitalization if the worst came to pass. I could feel the nurses at the desk listening as I filled out innumerable forms, and when Joy reached the end of her lively description, they both just started giggling. I did too.

And then, when informed by the driest doctor I have ever met that there was no sign of "envenomation," and that she was in the throes of a sore "carbuncle," she embraced her suffering with a sigh, a lift of dark, dynamic eyebrows and proclaimed that we would now be "Sarah and Carbuncle," for the rest of our sister's road trip. I laughed, Gwen (the friend we visited) chuckled, and even the doctor might have experienced the slightest uplift of one miniscule corner of his mouth. How could he help it?

Her name is Joy, after all. She is a singer, a lover of people, a writer with a Dickensian sense of humor, a maker of costumes and crafter of poems. She is, and brings, and brims with... joy. It's just who she is.

Boy am I ever glad.