Officer, it pains me to say this but I’m not exactly sure when or where I lost Joy. I can see the disbelief (and judgement) in your eyes, but let me say for the record that she’s always had an annoying tendency of hiding away for a few days at a time, usually when things get too clamorous or busy in my world. Inevitably, I find her again – usually in the garden, under the Tipuana tree, her small face lifted to the wind’s caress. But I’m worried because there hasn’t been a sign of her for some time now.

A description, you say? She’s a wee little thing, about yay-high. Easy to overlook really, which – maybe you should make a note of this – explains why it’s taken me so long to file a report. Her eyes? Well, they sparkle. With life. Yes, I know that’s a cliché, but it’s true. Her voice? Umm…when she laughs she sounds a little like a child whose feet are being tickled by lapping waves. But she has this deeper chortle too –throaty and warm, like an old woman sharing a confidence with a friend.

Indeed Officer, I do realise I’m not giving you much to work with here, but Joy is just like that; she’s not easy to describe.

Kidnapped – heaven’s no! Nobody could steal Joy. She always stays on her own volition. Forgive my tears, Sir, but I do miss her so. I know I took her for granted. Joy was the one who could make me laugh when everything felt overwhelming or bleak. There was something about her that lifted me and made me try new things. She brought colour to my world and, now that she’s gone, everything feels a little grey and drab around the edges. Yes, you are right – exactly like this office.

Well, strange you should ask. I went looking for her at the shops the other day, remembering her fondness for pretty things. But I should have known I wouldn’t find her there – she’s always had an aversion to the false, shiny things of the world. I spent time with friends on Saturday, and looked out for her (she loves a good party, does Joy) but she didn’t arrive. For a while, after my two glasses of wine, I thought I sensed her, but it was only an imposter who left me feeling even lonelier than before.

Not enough leads for you to pursue this case? Of course, why am I not surprised?

But you might just be right, Sir. I’ll have to make a concerted effort to look for Joy myself because the thought of living without her is just unbearable. And the next time I won’t let her slip away again so easily. My plan to bring her back, you ask? Well, Joy likes the deep things, the real things in life. Love attracts her…and prayer…and soulful poems and songs. Connection—with God and others and myself—that has always brought her out of hiding. And I’ve sometimes caught her spying on me as I sit and write. Yes! I’d almost forgotten how much Joy loves those moments where I’m the most true to myself.

Did you hear something Officer? Oh, my mistake. I think it was just an old lady next door, laughing.

 “Joy is the serious business of Heaven.”~ C. S. Lewis


Image by Simon Howden: