Sunday, January 3, 2021

Bill Crawford: Looking for Joy in the New Year

As the old melancholy year passes, the cynical mind struggles to see hope and good cheer coming in the new year.

Lonely deaths and lasting anguish despoiled the past year. Sequestered in COVID laden hospitals and nursing homes, grandparents, moms, dads, and children died alone. In past years for our families as with so many, when fatal disease overwhelmed loved ones at least one family member was continually beside them with others congregated nearby. COVID denied these intimate times of solace, prayer, and good-byes to tens of thousands. For others, family separation from seclusion at home was nearly as depressing, too often leading to death by despair or suicide.

Lamentations for lost loved ones will continue far into the new year as vaccination logistics and foolish denials hinder a return to general wellness.

The heroic sacrifices of caregivers – long, bleak, and stressful hours with few breaks, risks, some fatal, to their own health, time away from family, especially children – add to the year’s distress with little relief looming in the near term.

Suffering has extended to and will long continue for the families of those who died and those who suffered lasting complications from COVID. Anguish has also come to those crushed by businesses shut-downs, lost jobs, and financial ruin. Overrun foodbanks exemplify the impact, e.g. the Associated Press reported that Feeding America “has never handed out so much food so fast.” The organization saw a 60% increase in food bank users with about 4 in 10 first-time users.

Widespread suffering is new to 21st Century America, but not to much of the world. (Is there a foreboding here that America is not so immune to desolation as we think?)

Yes, vaccinations do offer hope that the suffering will ease, but how far away is realizing that hope?

So, as the year turns, our joy must come not from what will be but what we can find in the midst of this continuing tragedy.

The new Pixar movie Soul poignantly reminds us that everyday wonders yield countless joys. A cynical soul discovers joy in a scrumptious taste, nature’s beauty, soulful music, a job well done, and more. "We're all kind of striving but you can stop and admire the sunset or the leaves or whatever,” co-author/director Pete Doctor told Variety. “That's a real, honest joy of life."

Outside our home, moments of joy come whenever a grandchild’s face lights up in a big smile, pink and purple sunsets adorn the sky, brightly colored birds encircle our feeder, or a new pansy blossom pokes through. Inside, an uplifting movie, a good book, a taste of our daughter’s homemade bread, or a line from one of our son’s sermons can do the trick.

“Joy is an attitude of the heart and spirit, present inside of us as an untapped reservoir of potential,” Compassion.com tells us. “Happiness is not present in darkness and difficulty. Joy never leaves it.” Or as John 1:5 says, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Here’s wishing you many light-filled, joyful moments in the coming weeks and months.

Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Jackson.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I find myself like Bill sometimes especially when you see where the Liberals want to take this country as so much incivility from that side. But remember God Is in control and he will get us thru this. Happy 2021

Anonymous said...

The only way there is going to be Joy in 2021, is if the Democrats sweep Georgia.

Anonymous said...

12:34 - you mean the kind of joy that is enjoyed in cities where democrats are in control? Like Memphis (record 332 murders last year) or Jackson (record 124 murders last year) or perhaps Detroit or Chicago (sorry, don't have those record setting numbers). Oh yes, spread the joy around.

Anonymous said...

3:48, sad for you. I assume you don’t live in those places

Anonymous said...

@11:00, say leftists instead, there is nothing liberal about any of the authoritarian, communist, soy-addled manchildren

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.


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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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