Inexplicable joy

Back when I was still working a regular desk job, one of my friends and I would skip lunch every now and then to go for a run together. Though we ran a similar pace, she always ran the downhills better than I did, while I could pass her on the uphills.

One of our coworkers was driving to lunch and saw us out running together, and she remarked, “There go Joy and Hope.” The other person in the car with her was incredulous, “You’re kidding, right?” To which our friend replied, “No. Those are my friends Hope and Joy.” I’ll pause for a moment for you to get all the punny little jokes out of your mind. … Joy and I are used to them. We even feel safe making fun of our own names with each other.

And that’s exactly what Joy did when our friend came back after lunch and told us the story. Joy said, “Yep. It was Joy on the downhills and Hope on the uphills.” Know what? I think she was more right in a deeper-meaning-kind-of-way than either of us realized at the time.

Whether it’s in running or any other aspect of life, the easy downhill parts can bring you great joy. And when you get to the tougher parts, the ones that require a different kind of strength to tackle, well, that’s where hope comes in.

There are plenty of times in our life when we expect joy: marriages, births, special celebrations, getting hired for our dream job, going on that long-anticipated vacation, snow days (well, here in the south, anyway). And, yes, even running down hills.

But I’ve found it’s the inexplicable moments of joy that are the loveliest. Continue reading