Monday, November 5, 2012

Journeys of Joy


Today I’m catching myself waxing all philosophical like. (Which is completely different than waxing your chick-stache, but can be almost as painful.)
Today’s prompts had me chasing my mental tail. “Health Activist Soapbox” of “Write a list of 3 things you’re thankful for/ excited about/ or inspired by”. The happy one was way too easy, and I NEVER take the easy way. *grin* But then again, the first one summoned up a topic I wanted desperately to shy the heck-y away from.
So…I scrolled down to peruse the “substitute prompts” hoping there would be one to tickle my fancy. The one that jumped off the screen, did a Gibb’s-smack up-side my head (Bonus points if you just got the NCIS reference) and DEMANDED to be heard was “Why I decided to leave an on-line community”.
Darn it! You see, it’s the exact same topic that began harassing me with the whole soapbox thing! So I suppose I have to choice but to ponder it in print.

The Journeys of Joy

Once upon a time there was a little girl. For the sake of our story, we’ll call her Joy. (Even though we all know “Joy” is really just a creative way of saying “Chris” and this story is all about me. Because it’s ALWAYS all about me. But I digress.)
Joy had been skipping through the forest for quite some time and inadvertently found herself in two situations:
1) she was completely lost and
2) she was standing outside of a cottage fashioned completely from cups, saucers, dinner plates, and bowls. All the finest, most delicate china in the most prettiest colors she’d ever laid eyes on. And it was HUGE!
From inside the cottage Joy heard the unmistakable sounds of laughter and suddenly, she knew with every fiber of her being that she BELONGED inside the delicate place-setting walls, kicking back in a chair and enjoying a cup of rich cocoa.
So she knocked!
…a lovely Lady dressed all in silver.
The door was opened by a lovely Lady dressed in silver from head to toe. The Lady took one look at Joy and said, “Oh you poor dear! I can see you’re lost, you’re tired, and desperately in need of a cup of rich cocoa. Please, come inside and join us!”
Once inside, Joy was immediately surrounded by so many wonderful and unique people! There were people with butterfly wings, wolf-people, ladies stretching out comfortably on velvet couches, and gentlemen who had wheels where their legs should be. If you could dream it, they were here and all talking at once!
Joy was given a comfortable chair by the fire and a cup of rich coca. This? Was happiness!
…at least, for a while.
After a time Joy realized there were more people than she’d first realized. They were EVERYWHERE! In the cupboards, under the table, spilling out into the garden. EV-ER-Y-WHERE!
They sat in familiar groups talking, laughing, and sometimes crying as the need arose. Joy loved the way the conversations ebbed and flowed like a giant ocean, but she also was beginning to catch herself drowning in the multitudes.
So, with more than a little sadness in her heart, she decided it was time to move on. The wild and wonderful people were great, but there were just too many and little Joy tended to be easily distracted and a tad bit claustrophobic.
So with wishes of a safe journey, she set off once more.
Joy had been skipping through the forest for quite some time now and inadvertently found herself in two situations:
1) she was completely lost and
2) she was standing outside of a beautiful cottage made entirely of the sweetest smelling flowers in every shape and color.
From inside the cottage Joy heard the unmistakable sounds of laughter and suddenly knew with every fiber of her being she BELONGED inside the petal-and-vine walls, kicking back in a chair with her feet up, enjoying a cup of rich cocoa.
So she knocked.
…a lovely Lady dressed all in lilacs.
The door was opened by a lovely Lady dressed in lilacs from head to toe. “Oh you poor dear! I can see you’re lost, you’re tired, and desperately in need of a cup of rich cocoa. Please, come inside and join us!” (Wow! This sounded oddly familiar.)
Once inside, Joy was smothered in heartfelt greetings, given a comfy seat by the fire, and plied with cup after cup of rich cocoa.
Just like the previous cottage, there were all manner of wondrous people here, talking and laughing. The only difference was there were far fewer folks and it was infinitely easier to keep up with the various conversations.
For a time, Joy lived in the flower cottage in a complete state of…joy! That is, until the morning the Shadow arrived.
Joy had been engaging in her favorite pastime of drinking rich cocoa and talking to her new friends, when one of them happened to mention how bad their tummy felt from only drinking cocoa. They thought perhaps water might be a bit better.
NEVER!” The voice seemed to boom out of nowhere. “We drink rich cocoa because it is a pleasant, HAPPY drink! There shall be no more talk of water or bad tummies.”
Intriguing!
No one ever spoke of the Shadow voice and the days wore slowly on. The talk was still happy but perhaps a little less light.
Then one day Joy accidentally made a definite mistake. “Have any of you been to the cottage made of place-settings?”
NO!” The voice seemed to boom out of nowhere. “There shall be no talk of any other cottage but the flower cottage, for it is the prettiest and the sweetest smelling and those that dwell among the plates and cups are fools!” (Where the heck was that voice even coming from!?!)
Now, Joy wasn’t the brightest of young women, but she was starting to suspect something was amiss.
As the days wore on, she realized the sweet smell of the flowers had become almost chemical and cloying. As she sat in her comfy chair by the fire she looked around and realized that the smiles of all the wondrous people were a little more forced and her cocoa wasn’t quite as rich as she’d first thought it to be.
It seemed the fear of the disapproval of the Shadow hung over the cottage like a…shadow.
She knew the time had come for her to go. It wasn’t that she didn’t love the amazing people in the beautiful cottage, she was just tired of living under strict rules of rich cocoa and forced smiles.
Since she was more or less afraid of being loudly reprimanded by the Shadow, Joy slipped away like a thief in the night. After all, who was she to say the flower cottage wasn’t a nice place to be? Much like the cup and saucer cottage, it just wasn’t the right place for her.
Yet again, Joy had been skipping through the forest for quite some time now and inadvertently found herself in two situations:
1) she was completely lost and
2) she was standing outside of a tiny hole in the side of a hill.

Being the inquisitive soul she was, she poked her head in and realized, this hole had some serious potential! Right away she set about hollowing-out more space, digging windows and skylights, and sweeping the dirt off the dirt floors until they were as smooth as…smoothed dirt.
Then she made a fire outside the entrance and curled up on the ground to enjoy a glass of water from a nearby stream. It wasn’t rich cocoa, but it was cool and wet and it would do.
Now and again someone from one of the cottages would wander past and stop to join her for a while. Through conversations with the wondrous people, she discovered there were more cottages in the forest than she could have ever dreamed existed in the whole of the world!
Sometimes the beautiful people would stay and together they’d hollow-out more room in the hillside. Sometimes they’d move on. Sometimes they’d find their own little hole in a hillside to hollow-out and drop by now and then for a visit.
Sometimes they would laugh together and sometimes they would cry as the need arose. Sometimes someone would bring rich cocoa to share and sometimes it was only the water from the stream.
But the moral of our tale is this; no matter where they’d journeyed from or where they were heading, Joy loved meeting each and every one of the amazing people who managed to find her and her hollowed-out home.
She was always happy to trade stories and adventures with these friends, while sitting by the fire. To Joy, there was no one, single cottage or drink that was better, it was all just a matter of choice.
THE END
PS In all reality, I think I managed to fit in all three of the prompts. But hey, who’s counting?

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