I sign my emails “Joyfully,” which seems ironic. I don’t tend toward cheerfulness when I open my cluttered inbox. Signing my emails this way began as a choice—much like joy. No matter my mood when I type the body of a message, I am forced to rejoice when I sign and send it.
The early Christians used to greet one another simply by saying, “Rejoice!” It was a blessing and a command, a reminder and a reaction. Whatever joy was, it was not optional.
It is easy to rejoice as I submit a much-desired literary agreement—and less so when responding to a rejection slip. And yet, I sign both “Joyfully, Ryanne” and set my heart aright.
It is easy to respond with joy when a congregant asks to join the choir. We need more sopranos, after all. It is not so easy to maintain joy when a beautiful singer decides he or she cannot participate. And yet, I must sign both “Joyfully, Ryanne” and sing joyfully regardless.
It is natural to rejoice when a family joins our church and expresses their appreciation. But when someone denounces your church over a perceived slight? This is inevitable and terribly uncomfortable. Both, though, must be christened, “Joyfully, Ryanne.”
After several years of concluding my emails this way, I am starting to consistently mean it—and in that consistency lies the heart of true joy, which endures in all things. Sometimes this simple phrase flows easily and other times it is an act of sheer willpower. In either case, reply I must and rejoice I shall.