How long has it been since you experienced real joy? Yes, I know we have been in a pandemic with all kinds of troubles in the world. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t experience joy every now and then. What has brought you real joy in the past?
Sometimes things that bring us joy are right in front of us. Seeing our children after they were born; laughing at the antics of a puppy; seeing our children find joy in twirling around and feeling the wind on their faces; hearing the long awaited, good results of a physical exam or lab test; hearing or seeing the product of our labor completed; seeing the pride of your child after accomplishing a long sought goal.
Joy is defined on Google as “a feeling of great pleasure or happiness.” When was the last time you felt unadulterated joy? Think back. What caused you to feel that way? Does thinking about it make you smile? What could you do right now that would give you a feeling of joy?
In spite of being mostly isolated for 3 months I feel joy seeing the birds, rabbits, and squirrels eating the seeds I put out for them every two or three days. I hear the birds sing and enjoy their brilliant colors, their flight and the knowledge that I helped them survive. I am sure the squirrels and rabbits could get blackberries down the hill in our parking lot. But they come to the ground outside of my screened in porch. My cat and I delight in their presence.
I have two grandsons and a granddaughter, It brings joy to me when I see the joy of my grandchildren in their playing, running, antics, in their relationships with their parents and each other. It fills me to the brim with joy to hear them call me, MaHa, my own special name. Then to see their excitement when I call on FaceChat and they are running around showing me things on their mother’s phone. I don’t always understand what they are saying but it pleases me that they want to share with me.
I have a young red maple tree on the corner of my porch and can see it easily from my bedroom window. As the seasons pass I see the trees bare in the winter. As spring comes I see the new light green of the new sprouting leaves which eventually fill in most of the spaces where there once were no leaves.
I see the light green leaves turn into darker fresh, full, vibrant leaves in late spring and into summer. Then as fall approaches the leaves of my tree turn a lovely red. Then in winter they fall again. Watching the changes brings me great joy even as just an observer.
Sometimes I think the changing of the seasons brings me joy because by the end of each one, I get eager for the next season and all the joys each season brings. Each season is wonderful in it’s own right. But after several months of the same kind of weather, I do look forward to the coming of each new season with joy. I get to wear different clothes, enjoy different holidays, eat seasonal fruits and vegetables and enjoy the seasonal holidays of each one.
The high temperatures of summer make me eager for fall. The cool, fall temperatures with dips into colder weather make me want to wear my warm sweaters and sleep under soft, fuzzy blankets. The icy cold of winter makes me start thinking how lovely it will be to wear shorts and walk in the sunshine again.
I find great joy in watching clouds. When I was about 10 or 12 I went to a class that my father was teaching on clouds and what they tell us about the weather. My father was an instructor in a flight school. I still remember the awe I felt looking at the different kinds of clouds and when they were significant to watch for danger, rain, or storms, and especially lightning. I enjoy watching them because of their beauty and their power.
Being a person who loves to look at clouds , sunsets and sunrises, I enjoy capturing their beauty with my phone or camera. They can be so beautiful and in so many different shapes. There were clouds the other day that looked like two people kissing. I captured one cloud that looked like a huge white dove. So much beauty there.
Music brings me joy too. Listening to music itself makes me relax or want to move to the beat. Soft flowing music makes me relax and want to sit still just to listen to it. Every time I hear slow belly dancing music I still want to belly dance. If I hear music that I learned the words to, I sing a long.
I have a long history with music. I sang in the church choir as kid and continued into my adult years. Some old hymns still express a feeling of comfort or peace to me and I still remember many of the words too. I took piano lessons from my mother and later from an instructor for two years. I don’t know that I can now play but I can read music still.
Music was one of many things that bound my family together growing up. We sang around the piano when mother played. We sang in the car when we traveled, we had music classes in elementary and junior high school. Even as a girl scout, I learned several songs that I can still sing. Sometimes a bluesy song by Carole King or Carly Simon or James Taylor makes me sing along. Music obviously is a source of great joy.
Try to remember what brought you joy as a youngster or a teenager. Even in these sad times, we need to have a source of joy to help balance the stress and fears, and sadness that comes with being an adult in a world such as this one. Remember too that if you have been fortunate enough to have good ones, friends are a joy that lasts and lasts. Make time to share time with those you love. Also don’t forget to love yourself too. We are all “fearfully and wonderfully made.”(From Psalm 139)