I remember waking up one morning in the city of Siem Reap, Cambodia at the “Hotel Smiley”. It literally had a huge big smiley face as a sign. For some reason, this stands out to me.
We had just arrived the night before after a long bus ride from the capitol city of Phnom Phen. Driving through the beautiful, yet utterly sad, jungle area in Central Cambodia had been eye opening. Seeing the “crews” burning the fields so as to force not found landmines into combusting was strangely surreal. Driving on dirt roads filled with potholes the size of people was bone jarring. Sitting in a cramped seat for hours on end with my travel pack jammed into my spleen was….well, interesting. I even remember staring at a cow and seeing it stare back as if for some reason we had meant to have that moment together. It was a cow….that’s not normal.
Yet, it wasn’t all the incredible experiences, however ridiculous they may seem, that stood out in my mind that day. It was that ridiculous smiley sign.
Now, I don’t have some existential story that relates to that smiley sign. No pearl of wisdom. No great moment of truth that overcame me and made me sit up and realize the meaning of life.
It was the simplicity of that smile sign that got me. The simplicity of that smile. It MADE me smile.
I guess in a way I did have an existential moment. A moment of truth that made me sit up and realize the meaning of life.
Joy is so much more than an emotion. It’s the very driving force of faith and life.
Now, if you know me, you know that I love to travel and meet and see new places and people. This brings me great joy.
The greatest realization in this life for me was the concept and idea that Joy is a choice. I choose to be happy wherever I am and with whomever I am with. I decide to be happy. I decide to live joyfully. Joy is so much more than just an emotion. It is the very spirit of happiness.
This led me to realize how much God/Jesus/Holy Spirit is more than just an emotion, a feeling, or something that drives me. HE is a decision that I choose. HE is the one I choose to follow spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I follow and obey HIM because he is more than just a friend. He is GOD the FATHER, all mighty, all powerful, everlasting. HE is worthy of following and placing my joy in. HE himself is not just a feeling that I ride when on a spiritual high. HE is my REASON for Joy. He is the very essence of all that is worth being joyful about.
And for that, I smile.
A smile can change a worldview.