Joy is a curious thing. Without it life feels empty, sad and sorrowful. Right alongside these sad words live heartache, grief, and loneliness. I used to not give it much thought. My life growing up was easy. I had parents who loved me unconditionally, but more importantly, loved each other and modeled that to my sister and I. We didn’t have a lot financially, but we never wanted for anything important. For the most part I enjoyed school, had good friends, and was involved in a lot of activities. Life just sort of happened, and I was happy.
That’s pretty much how things continued for me until last year when life’s circumstances got in the way, and I found myself in a peculiar spot. I had stepped blindly into a time in my life where my day was simply a means to getting to the next one. For the first time in my life, something unfamiliar happened to my stress-free, perfect little world, and I couldn’t figure out how to get back.
I couldn’t find my joy.
It didn’t take me long to realize I needed to find that sweet little emotion, or I was going to sink fast. I remember sitting at the table one morning, feeling pretty desperate for some happiness. And let’s face it…as much as I wanted to be really spiritual and find myself deep in the promise that “He will fill me with joy in His presence,” I didn’t rightly care. My discouragement had clouded any promise I had previously known to be true. However, my thought process told me that if I couldn’t find joy in the big aspects of my life that weren’t able to be changed at the moment, I needed to focus on the small things. So this is what I wrote…
I love the first Starbucks cup of the holiday season, days where it feels like you’re living in a musical, 10 million fireflies, the rare occasion of eating breakfast out, songs that bring back a memory so vivid that it feels like you’re living it all over again, and peacock feathers.
I finished typing it out and instantly smiled. Because along with each one of these tidbits of joy, I created a picture in my head that brought even more joy to my weary heart. When I thought of that Starbucks cup, I thought of my mom and my sister who would share in the excitement over holding that pretty red paper cup in their hands, filled with coffee. Feeling like you’re living in a musical made me chuckle as I pictured myself bursting into song at the sight of snow on the ground. Ten million fireflies gave me a feeling of exhilaration because it was my favorite song to run to at the time. The rare occasion of eating breakfast out made me think of how much I love sitting across from my husband, sharing food and life together. Vivid memories from songs was a reminder of extremely happy moments in my life. And peacock feathers…well…who doesn’t love a peacock feather perfectly placed amongst the curls in your hair? It was as if those few wonderful moments of my morning were enough. Enough. The rest of my day actually saw some joy, and so the next day, I did it all over again.
I love the smell of brewing coffee, the song that gets you through the last half mile of your run, my freedom because of others sacrifice, a perfectly made bed, the gravelly voice of Bon Jovi, and really passionate people.
These simple thoughts allowed small amounts of joy to slowly creep back into my life. And the more I practiced finding joy in the small things, the stronger I was at fighting back at some of the difficult things I was going through. My perspective on my life slowly came back into a normal view where I was able to see a bigger picture.
Joy is a remarkable thing. With it life is full of happiness, humor, refreshment, and delight. And right alongside these brilliant words lies triumph.