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What is Joy?

Larry and Lisa started to realize that Charlie was trying to avoid them. Because they lived close to Charlie, the twins would walk to school and return home with Charlie almost every day. Recently, Charlie left for school almost a half an hour earlier, and he ran off before Larry or Lisa could catch him at the end of school each day.
One afternoon as they were going home from school, Larry saw Charlie going to Grandpa’s house.

Larry said to Lisa, “I wonder why Charlie stopped at Grandpa’s house. I guess Charlie likes him more than us.”

Lisa responded, “Don’t let it bother you. I am sure Grandpa will help Charlie through whatever is bothering him.”


Grandpa said, “Hi, Charlie. What a pleasant surprise. How have you been? Come in, and we can chat.”

Charlie entered quietly and waited for Grandpa to continue.

Grandpa questioned, “Would you like to have a snack while we talk?”

Charlie finally responded, “Ah, no thanks. I am OK. Could we sit in your living room?”

Grandpa answered, “Sure.”

Charlie asked, “Grandpa, do you sit in your living room a lot, or some other room?”

Grandpa thought that was a very interesting question to start the conversation. Grandpa said, “In my previous house, and in this house, the living room had not been my favorite place to relax until recently.”

Grandpa pointed to a new addition to his room. “Since Lisa gave me that drawing, I feel more at peace in my living room.”

Charlie looked at Lisa’s drawing and gasped. “Wow! Did Lisa really draw that? It is amazingly life-like. Even in the drawing, your wife looks like she could start speaking to me.”

Grandpa started to cry but held the tears back. “Yes, my thoughts also. That is why I sit here, now. Not only does it help me remember my loving wife, and dog, but it also fills me with joy because I cannot forget how much fun I have with all my young friends.”

Charlie asked, “Grandpa, did you and your wife have any kids?”

Grandpa slowly answered, “Yes, we did. They were twins, like Larry and Lisa.”

Charlie noticed that Grandpa was starting to cry, so Charlie said, “I am sorry. I didn’t know that talking about your family was hard for you.”

Grandpa said, “That’s OK. There is still joy in my heart when I think of my son and daughter. They are just not … happy thoughts. Our twins died at an early age from a rare disease that only effects twins. We knew about their disease when they were born, but we thought that God would give us more time to be with them.”

Grandpa continued, “My wife and I did not have any more children.”

Charlie asked, “So, is that why me and my friends give you so much joy?”

Grandpa answered, “I guess so. God has ways of releasing His hidden joy, even in situations that do not create happy thoughts. When a person feels the love of God, many things in life release His joy. As the Bible says, ‘The joy of the Lord is your strength.’ That is my strength to continue with what God has for me to do.”

Grandpa then said, “I just realized that I have been talking about myself, and I haven’t even asked you why you stopped by. Please forgive me for not being a good host.”

Charlie responded, “Oh, Grandpa, just being with you has really uplifted me. I wasn’t quite sure why I stopped by. I guess I just needed to talk. You helped me a lot, even if you don’t realize it. I have a lot to think about, and hearing your story has helped me more than I can explain right now. I do have to get home before my mom starts to worry about me.”

Grandpa responded, “Sure, go home quickly. You can stop by any time.”

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