Sacred Story Transmission
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Joy and the Goldfish
The morning sun sparkled on the water, creating a river of stars that twinkled as they streamed through the land. Larks, sparrows and warblers trilled and chirped on the canopies of the trees on the eastern side of the creek. The tall trees swung on the gentle breeze like belly dancers. On the southwest corner, a couple of hummingbirds were busy with delight, their wings fanning the fragrance of sweet peas that spread like good news over the secluded spot.
“My life stinks!” Joy murmured. “My name must have been a mistake.”
She looked around, worried that someone may have heard her. But she was alone. She’d never met anyone in this secluded corner.
“Thank God for small mercies,” she sighed.
It was good to have this haven, where she could be alone without having to pretend that everything was fine.
“This is not what I expected from life,” she confessed in a rumor that mingled with the trickling of the small stream in front of her and flowed through the gray stones, running down the slope on her left and vanishing in the horizon.
She found a trifling satisfaction in speaking this nasty, hidden truth and seeing it vanish without anyone trying to convince her that her life was wonderful, that she had everything everyone could possibly want and that she was great.
“Or, in the case of mom, saying ‘I told you so’”, she mumbled. “Little does she realize that my problems seldom stem from the choices she doesn’t like, but are usually the result of the choices I’ve taken to please others, including her. But woe is me if I tell her!”
She smiled bitterly while she warily flattened the wrinkles in the white terry cloth blanket where she sat.
“They all think that I’m lucky.”
“Joy has everything anyone can possibly want,” she bleated in a parody of those who praised her. “She’s so lucky!”
“Joy doesn’t know the meaning of fear. Nothing thwarts her,” she mimicked, and then snorted.
“Little do they know that Ms. Lucky is the slave of never ending worries and duties that have finally woven themselves into a dull tapestry of routine!” she barked.
“My life stinks,” she repeated in a mantra that felt strangely gratifying.
Joy bent over to feel the twinkling water in her hands and suddenly felt an immense weight on her back.
“I feel that I’m carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders,” she professed to the waters. “What’s going on?”
Dipping her cupped hands in the crystalline water, she watched it slip through her fingers.
“That’s exactly what happened,” Joy whispered sorrowfully. “But I don’t know when or how my life slipped through my fingers.”
“I’ve tried really hard to be true to myself,” Joy cried out to heaven, letting her whole body drop back into the blanket beneath her, “even when others pressured me to conform. I’ve tried to be a good person, to fulfill my soul’s purpose and to be an inspiration to others.”
“So why do I feel so tired, so empty?” she wept softly. “Why do I feel as if my life force had been bled, my hope drained, all motivation gone? And why is my life so far from the dream I had for myself?”
“You are so independent! You are soooo self-sufficient and confident. I wish I could be more like you,” her best friend Maggie often said.
“That’s the great lie!” Joy sulked. “All-together Joy, the one who’s done what she likes always.”
“What a laugh!” she laughed in a little cynical bark.
The waters seemed to bark back at her. Joy took off her shoes and dipped her feet in the cool water.
The worry creases in her face instantly disappeared as she remembered JJ, her seven year old self splashing the water with abandonment until strong gales of laughter burst out of her, shaking her whole body. Then all would be well again, at least for a little while.
“JJ, for ja-ja or for Joy Jordan,” she would say, and JJ she became to all her friends, who smiled when they called her.
“Was sorrow so easily shed then?” Joy wondered. “Or is that how I learned to draw a smiling face over my sad heart?”
A flush of color dashed past her eyes as she remembered the hearts she painted. Happy hearts. Winged hearts. Flowered hearts. Pink, red, golden, green hearts. For years she was obsessed with painting hearts.
Lost in reminiscence, Joy slowly caressed the bottom of the banks with her feet, enjoying the cool water streaming around her ankles. She felt something under her soles and bent down to pick it up. It was a small heart-shaped stone, smooth and polished by the waters. So beautiful!
Joy fingered the stone, feeling its round top edges. An overwhelming desire to paint possessed her. To paint hearts. Beautiful hearts, broken hearts, empty hearts, full hearts. To mix beautiful red hues, blood red, earth red, clay and stone reds and ginger hues. To hold the brush and let it dance between her fingers, or to be messy and use her fingertips. To fill an empty canvas with colors that took shape before her eyes, making visible the invisible longing in her heart.
“Why don’t you?” A soft, clear voice asked.
Joy turned around abruptly, a frown between her brows, ready to shoo away the intruder. But there was no one.
Joy and the Goldfish is a beautiful & thrilling storybook! How a story can dive so deep inside and be so lively and entertaining at the same time is amazing. It will give you wisdom to change your life, along visual metaphor for getting and staying connected. Look forward to sharing it with granddaughters one day. Thank you, Maria Mar, for a wonderful experience with this story. JOY to the World…
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