Hope Holding Hands with Joy

April 07, 2020
enjoy sign

[Author: Jo McIntosh, Department of English Instructor]

Have you done the “my one word” challenge yet? I’ve done it with Bible studies, with my kids, and even with some of my cancer-lady friends. You can find “your word” like this: where do I want growth, and what is one word I can focus on for the next year to realize growth? Then pray.

I chose JOY a few years ago, and now I see it everywhere.

  • Watching a student’s eyes light up learning new concepts… online
  • Deep dives into poetry (alliteration makes you listen!)… online
  • Showing off our lapdogs while discussing St. Augustine… online
  • Learning about literature and journaling for medical or other professionals… online
  • Students brave enough to offer opposing views in chat discussions… online
  • Students asking questions we all have to look up… online
  • Taking an afternoon drive with my kiddo…

My whole JOY list won’t fit!

Finding Joy

Unexpected joy over the last few weeks appeared when I felt the most afraid and alone. Joy didn’t appear out of nowhere in those moments. I’ve been practicing finding joy like an athlete, so it’s becoming a muscle memory response. This summer, I’m at it again, creating a course entitled Finding Joy in Literatures. The premise? Joy holds hands with hope — looking toward a future that is better or equally as good as what exists in this moment.

Vocation & Joy

Before the break, one class of students decided that we should have a class t-shirt based on each of us sharing the purpose behind the fields we’ve chosen.

(Front) The Advocators! (Back) Words Matter Because People Matter

Our t-shirt design, like our career and vocation, is driven by wanting to help others as we’ve been helped. Our humanities students will become lawyers, doctors, executive-level managers, AI developers, psychologists, writers, and professors, so I know there is hope holding hands with joy in our futures.

You will go out in joy

and be led forth in peace;

the mountains and hills

will burst into song before you,

and all the trees of the field

will clap their hands.

Isaiah 55:12 (NIV)