"everything ends somewhere."

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On Friday, March 27, a dear friend of mine from college, Meredith “Moey” Shuppy, passed away unexpectedly in her sleep. I heard the news from a mutual friend via text, and somehow, when I got his text saying, “Call me when you can. It’s important,” I knew it was about Moey. When we talked briefly, I took in the information and went about my day as if nothing had happened. His words floated above me like oil on water, not sinking in until much later that evening, when finally I went from unfazed, to shocked, to overwhelmingly lonely.

Moey was a joy to be around. I don’t think anyone could have disliked her, even if they actively tried. Her energy. Her spirit. Her smile. Her abundant hugs.

There’s a difference between joy and happiness, and Moey was and is the personification of Joy. It was contagious. It flowed from her pores and lit up her eyes. You simply could not NOT catch her joy. The world desperately craves more people like Moey.

As I was reminiscing, I decided to google Moey, and I stumbled upon a blog she had written. On April 23, 2010, she posted the following, entitled “everything ends somewhere.” Here is an excerpt:

“It’s easy to be shaken up about the temporariness, not only of our life here, but also of the stuff and the people we surround ourselves with. Things and people could literally vanish in one blink of an eye. I could see something in front of me one moment, turn around, and it’s gone when I turn back to it. Nothing is guaranteed to stay nor is anything guaranteed to stay away. . . I can’t guarantee that when I leave my house in the morning that I’ll come back. I can’t even guarantee that this breath I take as I type this won’t be my last. . . NOTHING is a guarantee. And there are people out there who know this. And I’ve heard that said to me 1,000,000,000 times over and over, but I guess I always thought I was invincible and that this life and all that it materially contains has to be the utmost truth because it’s all I can see. But Hebrews 11 basically says, “What you see isn’t what is true. Have faith in what you don’t see – it’s everlasting and REAL.”

As I read Moey’s words over and over again, I feel myself drawn to the phrase, “Nothing is a guarantee.” Life is so damn short. We can vanish from this world quicker than we came into it. This month, I’ve been thinking a lot about Moey’s joy-filled life, and in turn, my own.

Am I happy or joyful?

“But what is happiness? It’s a moment before you need more happiness.” – Don Draper, Mad Men.

According to one source, “Happiness may be momentary, as it is a result of short-term contentment; but joy, being related to the inner self, is long lasting.”

How do we become joyful? How do we get in touch with our “inner self”? In order to truly know ourselves, we must listen with no judgments. Have you ever had a thought and scolded yourself for it? Ask yourself in those moments if you would verbally scold a loved one in the same way you scold yourself. I know I wouldn’t!

I’m a big fan of meditation. I sit for fifteen minutes, close my eyes, and focus on the air going in and out of my nose. When I have thoughts, I note them, and shift my focus back to my breathing. No thoughts are ever wrong; they just exist.

I’ve been practicing this form of mindfulness off and on for about two years, and I’ve noticed a sort of presence I didn’t have before. Quite honestly, being present is never easy for me. I’m always thinking of the next best thing, or the next form of “happiness,” instead of just being. Mindful thinking has helped me to stay present.

And that is where joy is found – in the present moments.

Since Moey’s death, I’ve been in touch with several college friends I haven’t talked to in months, and in some cases, years. Through these interactions, we have celebrated the life of Meredith Shuppy. We have laughed and cried at her goofy antics and boisterous personality. Moey’s life and death have connected me with people in which I’ve lost touch, and through our memories of her, we have found joy.

Moey’s life on earth has ended, but the lives she has changed go on. The memories she created, lessons she instilled, and joy she imparted will never die.

What about you? What brings you joy? Do things in your life make you happy, and/or have you found joy in the life you have created? I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment, tweet me, or facebook me!

Mission Statement for the Meredith S. Shuppy Fund through St. Roch’s Community Church:

Donations made to the Meredith S. Shuppy fund should be directed to single mothers within the New Orleans community, providing funding for food, housing, shelter, clothing, or educational support as the staff at St. Roch’s Community Church see fit, in accordance with the approval of the Shuppy family. Meredith was passionate about empowering women, and it is our hope that this fund will allow for the advancement and support of single mothers in the New Orleans community.