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There are many reasons to fear the worst at this particular time, when everything is wavering: a pandemic that never ends; the climate that is becoming more violently disorganised than ever; diversity in perdition; ideological tensions of all kinds; a precariousness that threatens the poorest, the most fragile and also the most established people; wars that threaten the four corners of the planet. And so many other things…
Faced with this, we can be terrified, and shut ourselves away to avoid seeing the world. We can decide to be cynical and think only of ourselves. One can also decide to lock oneself up in rage, not allowing oneself any pleasure, any joy, in order to fight ceaselessly, by militating, against these so tragic threats that jeopardise the very survival of humanity.
We can also, for a moment, take advantage of the summer period, to be only joyful. To enjoy our loved ones, to admire the beauty of the world, of nature, of our family, of our friends. To love and try to be loved. To enjoy the moments that pass, as they come. To concentrate every second on what can make us smile, what can make us laugh, what can make us love; what can make us hope.
To be joyful is not to deny the reality of the world, it is to take it as it is, to face it; and to choose to see, for a moment, only the best in it.
To be joyful is to welcome the world when it wakes up with a smile; it is also to smile at those around you; it is not to bore them with your sorrows; it is to check on them, to find ways to make them laugh. It is to never forget that smiling is a universally recognised therapy. It’s making a list of those you haven’t spoken to or seen in a long time, and calling them. It is looking at the nature around you as a blessing, listening to its sounds, admiring its colours; its shapes; it is sharing a meal with friends; it is discovering a new dish; a new cuisine; it is swimming; it is running; it’s doing sports; it’s rereading a book that we loved, it’s sharing it with others; it’s discovering new authors, new musicians, new painters, new film-makers, new works of art, whatever their nature. To be joyful is to accept to admire without jealousy, to be dazzled without ulterior motive. It is to look within oneself for the thousand reasons, everywhere, very often personal, to be happy. It is to look for them deep within oneself; in faith, or in the simple awareness of the infinite mystery of life. And there are always reasons, even if we go through difficult personal phases, whatever their nature.
To be joyful is to seek to hear, for a moment, only the good news; and there is also good news on a societal scale: vaccines are effective, economic growth has resumed, job opportunities are everywhere, technological progress is amazing, especially in all areas of the life economy; works of art, old and new, are waiting to be discovered and admired; and they are everywhere, in all human creations. Corporate successes are everywhere. And the achievements of the magnificent associations that help those who suffer should also make us all joyful, proud human beings.
Being joyful is not a selfish act. Look around you: the most joyful people are those who have discovered the simplest and most revolutionary secret: the greatest happiness is that which consists in making others happy; and, even more, in creating the conditions for the happiness of future generations. Being happy is then a very contagious disease, for which there will never be a vaccine.
To be joyful, then, is to understand very quickly that this state is so precious that one does not want it to end and that one must do everything, at every moment, to maintain it, to create the conditions for it to last. Being joyful is thus the best way to become aware of the importance of being an actor in the world.
Try, really try. And this parenthesis may never close.