Monday, June 27, 2016

Weekly Inspiration: We Are Born for Joy

It's been a few weeks since I've had time for a Weekly Inspiration post. Between my son's high school graduation, and both of our sons running in and out of the house in between their trips, it has been super hectic, noisy & chaotic here! I think I am finally started to get caught up...and am seriously looking forward to a few days this week ALL BY MYSELF!

One of the things I caught up on this weekend was my Quote Journal. If you're a regular reader of my blog, you know that I love to read and often write down quotes from the books I read that I find inspiring.

Today's inspiring book quote is one of my favorites but comes from an unexpected source: Life Expectancy by Dean Koontz. Koontz is best known for his horror novels, which I started reading when I was a teenager. I hadn't read much Dean Koontz in years, but after my dad died a year ago, my husband and I brought home his extensive collection of Stephen King and Dean Koontz books, with the encouragement of his wife. Reading and enjoying books was something special we shared with my dad. Coincidentally, just a week after that, I joined the ME/CFS Book Group on Facebook and found that their next book choice was Life Expectancy by Dean Koontz. It was on my dad's shelf, so I read it with the group and was pleasantly surprised (my review at the link - no spoilers).

Life Expectancy is not horror - like Stephen King, Koontz actually writes a wide variety of novels in lots of different genres. This one was a genre-bending blend of thriller and humor. But I realized last night, while writing down favorite quotes from the book, that it was also thoughtful, introspective, and inspiring! The family at the heart of the novel (who, yes, are being pursued by killer clowns - cue suspense & humor both) is the greatest literary example ever of a loving, joyful, happy family.

Here's what the main character, Jimmy Tock, says toward the end of the novel:
"No one's life should be rooted in fear. We are born for wonder, for joy, for hope, for love, to marvel at the mystery of existence, to be ravished by the beauty of the world, to seek truth and meaning, to acquire wisdom, and by our treatment of others to brighten the corner where we are.

...No one can grant you happiness. Happiness is a choice we all have the power to make. There is always cake."
                    - Jimmy Tock in Life Expectancy by Dean Koontz

That last line is because Jimmy and his dad are bakers, and his family delights in all the wonderful foods - and especially baked goods - they prepare for their daily meals together.

I loved this fictional family, and I loved these words. They perfectly capture my own view of life, a view I have had for many decades but that has been strengthened by my experiences with chronic illness. It's easy, when our lives are filled with exhaustion and pain, to focus only on suffering, but this is a reminder that no matter what happens in our lives (and Jimmy's family endures a LOT in this novel), life is really about wonder, joy, hope, and love.

I often write on this blog about the importance of these positive emotions and experiences, even (especially) in the midst of a life of chronic illness, but this brief quote seems to sum up all of that in one beautiful, succinct passage. I want to pin it on my wall and read it every morning to start my day!

Words to ponder...and to live by.

What books and authors have surprised or inspired you?

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