Joy is not the same as happiness. Happiness comes and goes, but joy (if you let it) stays in your heart.
The past few days have not been happy. There's the "normal" stuff I wrote about a few days ago. But the biggie was that the mom of a dear friend died a few days ago. Having just passed the 2 month mark of my own mother's death, I had some serious wounds reopen and ooze with grief-filled puss. My heart breaks for her and her family. There is nothing I can do or say to make it better. I can't get there to support her in person. And that sucks. It sucks monkey balls - King Kong sized. It's a pain to physically be one place, but to have my mind and heart hundreds of miles away. It's a pain to have to attempt to focus on the task at hand, when all I can do is think about our moms, our families and our hurt.
There has been no happiness. Actually, there has been some, but not nearly enough to outweigh the pain. There has been lots of frustration, sadness, anger and indifference.
Where does the joy fit in? It's the joy in my heart that has sustained me through it all and will continue to sustain me. I know from personal experience that it will get better; that I will be better.
Recently, a new co-worker said to me "You're always so happy." My reply was "No, I'm always smiling. There's a difference." It's the joy, the knowing, that allows me to smile in the midst of it all. It allows me to be in the moment and appreciate a good joke. It allows me to expend a large amount of emotional energy just to be cordial. While I have spent a good amount of time in another world, when my mind, body and heart are all in the same place at the same time, it is then that I have returned to my joy-filled place. And that is what keeps me on this side of sane.