The baby was given two names at birth:
Gene … her parents were expecting a boy
Dolores … no one knows why she was given this name, but she was.
And so began the life of Gene Dolores.
It was not the greatest of names for a sweet little baby girl
who loved life
loved to laugh
and loved to dance.
Raised in poverty,
Gene Dolores had to leave school at twelve
to work and help support her family.
As serious health issues plagued her life
it would have been easy for her to dwell on her misfortunes
and live according to the fullness of her middle name Dolores
the root of which means ‘sorrow’.
Instead she chose to live a life of joy.
A gifted dancer, she appeared on Broadway
and danced with many stars-of-the-day.
Actor/dancer Ray Bolger recognized the “joy-within” Gene Dolores
and was the first to call her “Joy”
a name she adopted as her own for the rest of her life.
In spite of her medical issues and poverty,
Gene Dolores chose joy.
A conscious decision.
And in doing so, changed the direction of her life forever.
There are times when ‘life’ intervenes in our lives
… times when happiness may be evasive
… times when negativity overwhelms.
But even in those moments,
joy is there for us to choose.
… a feeling
joy is a choice
… a decision.
And Gene Dolores – Joy – made her decision every day.
It wasn’t easy, but as the years passed
she discovered the sadness lifting and life changing.
Gene Dolores was a woman of courage and integrity and joy
whose life left a rich legacy for me.
I try to honour her memory
by looking for and reflecting the joy
that comes even in the midst of grief
that connects body and mind
that is a soul-connection.
Tomorrow begins the Third Week of the Season of Advent for many.
Its theme is JOY.
May JOY be our conscious choice
and every day.
Happy Third Sunday of Advent!
This photo of my mother and Ray Bolger
is a treasured memory as are Bolger’s words:
Here’s hoping I’m not too presumptuous.
Best always. Ray Bolger”
Photo and Text © June Maffin