A: You must be a centenarian to call this 45-year-old a “sprightly young thing,” but I’ll take it! And I thank you for the kind words. Despite frequent failure, I continue to work hard at cultivating those traits.
Let me respond to each attribute on its own. I am joyful because…
• all past sorrows, grief, losses, and leaden hours have made every day a gift to me now
• because the sun will rise tomorrow and with it an opportunity to begin anew
• because life is given to us for joy; it should be our default
• because happiness doesn’t depend on outward things but on the way I respond to them
• because I’ve made the choice to be joyful and remain joyful, no matter what
• because when I count my blessings instead of focusing on what is lacking, my blessings multiply; this keeps abundance flowing and proves that natural law is conspiring in my favor
• because if I have the right intention, do the work required, quiet my mind, and hand over my problems to the divine, everything will be alright
• because what others think or say about me is none of my business and of no consequence
• because I try to use my talents in service to others for the highest and greatest good
• because I own everything in my life; I am responsible for each molecule with my name on it
• because I strive for unrelenting authenticity, gratitude and forgiveness —especially when being real is risky; when the worst of times call for giving the most heartfelt thanks; and when the person I should forgive seems to be pure evil
• because I understand the importance of both keeping good company and letting go of bad influences
• because minute-to-minute absurdities are more than sufficient to keep me laughing
• because I have been utterly broken and cracked; as it turned out, this enabled the light to come in
• because I didn’t accept a generational inheritance of ignorance, violence, and intellectual, physical, and spiritual poverty
• because I know that I am enough, and I have enough
• because I am curious about lots of things; this ensures new delights around every corner
• because I try to love when tempted to fear or judge
• because the wonder of music, stories, trees, dogs, Mama’s lacy-edged fried cornbread, fire, the ocean, and human compassion never cease
• and because as James Baldwin said, my crown is already bought and paid for; all I have to do is place it on my head. That is sweet indeed.
On the matter of Grace, it’s there only because of the love and mercy of something far bigger than me.
As to sensibility, I possess it because I’ve always read, listened, inquired, questioned, and paid close attention. I’m contrary as a result, and this has been a boon as well. After the ninth grade, following the crowd never held much allure. I figure if I go with the herd we might end up at the slaughter house.
Whew, can you tell there’s more to all this than a column can contain? To continue the discussion, I hope you’ll join me on Nov. 16 for “She Who Laughs: A Master Class in Joyful Living,” presented at the Marietta Museum of History. For more information, visit shewholaughs.brownpapertickets.com.
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Lauretta Hannon, a resident of Powder Springs, is the bestselling author of The Cracker Queen—A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life and a keynote speaker. Southern Living has named her “the funniest woman in Georgia.” See more at thecrackerqueen.com.