Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
I was watching traffic at a busy intersection - cars, trucks, pedestrians - stopping and going, stopping and going in that city-rhythm imposed by red, green and yellow lights. I saw pedestrians gather - waiting for the Walk image to appear. Three lanes coming, three lanes going, a lane in the middle for turning - fill and release in regulated lines. Like blood cells pushing their way from great arteries to small, funneling through those single-cell-width capillaries to their important delivery/pickup destinations. Fill and release.
It fascinated me. Thinking about all of the lives - the full, complicated lives - represented by each of the vehicles. Thinking about the comings and goings of the people at the intersection. Together for a moment - for a red-light pause - then gone, travelling to their important delivery/pickup destinations. Strangers. Passing through.
I imagined the spider-web connections between them - crossing at points of commonality. Some lives are bound to share the same space at the same time, lives regulated by implacable schedules. It looks linear; vehicles pass or follow the same vehicles days after day. Work and school - ebb and flow. Passengers nod and wave - no names - nod and wave to familiar faces.
And then there is another kind of intersection - it looks circular. Not influenced by a circumstance of meeting at the intersection - but rather by the ever-expanding rings of intimate acquaintance to social acquaintance to what is referred to as consequential strangers.
Oh brother! I watch traffic, start thinking, and find myself smack-dab in the middle of the realm of social theory. Believe it or not, there is a theory out there, a theory about how our world is shrinking. Not physically. Not in terms of population size. Shrinking socially. The theory says that everyone in the world is a mere six steps away from anyone else in the world. Six degrees of separation by way of social introduction. It's a chain theory - based on increasing social connectedness. I like that.
Here's the thing. I write everyday - to an invisible audience of people I don't know. My words. My thoughts. I don't know if anyone is even reading what I write - but the words, the thoughts, are out there. In cyberspace. Available. And that audience is six or fewer steps away from being in my social circle. The funny thing is, I feel responsible to that invisible, possibly non-existent audience. Everyday I choose between a myriad of topics. Everyday I try to show the positive. I am purposeful in trying to find joy - like the title - the joy in this not-so-ordinary world. Because with joy, this world becomes extraordinary. In our choices, in our purpose, in our vision - this world is anything but ordinary. It's biblical. I like that.
Thank you, God, for helping me to see joy. Continue to help me find the true, the noble, the pure, the lovely, the praiseworthy, the admirable.