In the last few months, I’ve slowly (yet suddenly and seemingly all at once) come to realize what joy really is.
Joy lives in those little moments between the shit of life. Those moments that make you feel thankful for where you are and what you have- No matter where you’re not and no matter what you do not have.
It is not that I have not ever had joyful moments in all my 41 years, or not noticed Joy now. I see Joy everyday.
But, one day recently I had an “ah ha” moment. This day was the first day I saw Joy in the moment, and welcomed her into my soul, without an expectation of her staying.
I accepted her for what she is and welcomed her with open arms. I enjoyed Joy’s visit without looking at making her a space in the spare room to stay, only to be disappointed when she refused to.
It may be naive of me to not have known this until now, but Joy is not always a constant tenant that sticks around, brings luggage and hangs posters in the spare room making it hers. She is a short drop in visit in each day of our lives. And… I think, that is the misconception we often live with- That joy sticks around and it is a state of living we must work to achieve.
The truth about Joy is- We can invite her to come into any moment of our day… just by paying attention. She’ll show up if we look for her and she arrives almost out of thin air… but she never stays long. For the busy-ness of life demands more attention than we can give her and when that happens, she’ll quietly slip out of the scene. She’s not upset, she knows her lines… and those moments of doing life are not always when she is best appreciated- so she exits stage left, until we invite her back again for another scene. But… she is always standing there, just off stage, waiting for her next queue.
Understanding this finally… like really getting it, is making a difference in my days since I finally figured this out. And, funny enough- she shows up more often!
So, I’ve decided I’m going to say hello out loud every time I feel Joy around, and just enjoy her short little visits, rather than expect she is moving in each time she shows up.
Because… when I think about it, sitting here writing this- Moments of joy are like standing barefoot in the grass, blowing bubbles for the kids on a warm breeze in the back yard, as the sun sets on a fun filled relaxing summer day.
You reach out to hold a bubble as it floats toward you and you smile as you do. You enjoy the bubbles for what they are- for how long they are there. You enjoy each bubble for its unique glimmer and size…even thought you know in a moment the surface tension will change and the bubble will be gone. Some bubbles last longer than others..but none of them disappoint you.
The bubbles might be temporary, but the feeling they give us is not. No matter how old we are, we don’t ever forget the pleasure of chasing bubbles. We are able to hold onto that feeling just by thinking about it… whenever we want. Just like when we say hello to Joy in an ordinary moment and we are are able to hold onto that feeling.
Joy is not something I should be chasing and trying to nail down, it should be like enjoying blowing bubble in the summertime in the back yard with the kids.
So, I’ve concluded that joy is the looking for and collecting of little moments like these, and not an achievement or a state of being we should strive to reach.