I love quotes; those brief, but pithy distillations of great truths. They slip off the tongue so easily, yet hang solemnly in the air, waiting for the hearers to say, “ahhh, yes, so true.” Secretly, we wish we’d thought of it first.
This blog title refers to a quote by Anne Sexton. “The joy that isn’t shared dies young.” Yes, I know. Brilliant, isn’t it? I picture a newly engaged young woman, her heart dancing with joy, and bursting to share her wonderful news. As she tries contacting her parents, her siblings, her friends, but (incredibly) finds no one home, I see her smile fading, the intense joy eroding just a little. Then, she perks up again, picturing herself sharing the good news at the office tomorrow, hearing the small shrieks from her female co-workers who have listened to her go on and on about her romantic ups and downs ad nauseum for months now. How pleased they’ll be to know how it ended.
If we can’t (or don’t) share our joy, it dies. We must smother it, like a candle’s flame, in order to contain it in our hearts alone. It becomes like a tree falling in the woods, unnoticed and unheard. Joy needs to be shared to be fully experienced by the joyful one.
Now imagine if the newly engaged woman goes to her office, and apart from a secret grin that no one asks her to explain, carries on as if nothing earth-shaking has happened. She not only robs herself, but also keeps her fellows from a piece of joy. Their day goes on as usual. No bright moment occurs to break the monotonous routine. No excuse for a Starbucks run, no special lunch date, in short, no announcement of joy means no one else can share it. Joy has a way of spreading, like butter soaking into a hot muffin, adding immeasurably to its flavor, making what was an unadorned small cake into a mouth-watering irresistible treat. It turns water into sparkling champagne. For a brief moment, it gives this earthly journey a tiny taste of heaven.
It would be a shame to waste a moment of it.