Choose joy

I keep having people ask me how it is that I’m always so happy regardless of circumstances. People have asked me that for as long as I can remember actually. The answer is simple. I choose to be. My Facebook this morning reads, “Keep choosing joy.” For me the imperative word is choosing. It’s simple for me to find a reason to celebrate the day. Why? Because joy is the only thing I am constantly looking for. Its a choice I’ve made from the very second I wake up.

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I was waiting in a government office this morning for a three hour time period. When I walked in the door I was warned by the staff so fervently about the wait time that it would appear they were discouraging me from checking in in the first place. I came prepared and my four-year-old and I sat, happily, for the three hours required of us.

Through the duration of our wait time I continued to hear from a particular office representative about what a bad day she was having. She made it very clear to the entire waiting room that she was struggling with her day, if not her week. She even threatened to walk out and requested PTO in front of everyone, only half in jest.

This got me thinking about what I could do to help. No one should have to walk around in that state of agitation. So I spent the next 20 minutes googling who would deliver her cupcakes. The answer was no one. I finally found a restaurant that would deliver tiramisu… In an hour. So I ordered it… and we waited.

To my right was a woman with a two-year-old. He was having a bad day. He did not want to sit still and was making it very clear that he was unhappy. She was doing a phenomenal job wrangling and quieting him. She made sure the treats that he needed were accessible and that he had stimulation and entertainment. However, in the middle of the exchange, she sniped at her husband in an all-too-familiar tone that made it clear that she was also struggling. When the husband and child stepped away I made mention to her of what amazing job she was doing. We had a 10 minute exchange and her spirits were obviously uplifted. She went back into her appointment and on her way out stopped to give me a small gift and thank you for having taken the time to share a smile with her.

After I was called back, by a different agent, the unhappy rep wandered into my room. She was unexpected and there was no reason for her to be in that room. She just wandered in. At that point my daughter jumped up and gave her a HUGE hug. For those of you who don’t know it, we’re a hugging family. She welled up with tears of appreciation.

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“How did you know I needed that?” She asked.
“Because I saw you were sad today.” My daughter answered.
“And who taught you how to hug like that?” The representative inquired.
“My mommy did!!!!” My daughter exclaimed.

Again she welled with tears and she asked for one more hug which my daughter happily obliged. She turned to me and came and gave me a giant hug as well explaining to me how badly she needed the encouragement and love. We had a wonderful exchange about somethings that she needed to get off her chest. She made mention that she owned a food truck as a side job and would love to treat my friend and I to some free food any time. As I started to leave the room her perfectly timed (not by me) tiramisu arrived. She was taken aback by the forethought and expressly grateful. We hoped into the car where my little recounted the entire interaction and wrapped the story with, “Thank you mommy for teaching me how to make people happy.” I was speechless.

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What we choose to feel and express has so many ripple effects. From the person were touching to the person who’s watching. We never know who is witnessing our acts of kindness and joy or how contagious those actions will be even to ourselves.

Today I learned that my choices have taught my daughter to:

1. Choose joy
2. Hug strangers warmly and affectionately
3. And lastly how to help make people feel happiness

I couldn’t be any more proud of her heart. She had to choose those lessons from what she witnessed. She could just have easily chosen to ignore those lessons. She could have easily chosen to learn SO many other lessons that were being taught in that room. We all have to choose. I am a single mom of 2 preschoolers. I go at it alone both physically and fiscally. My world is rarely easy peasy but every day I wake up and CHOOSE joy. Because I believe that it truly is
that simple. One thing I desperately want for my littles is to not just learn to share joy but how to generate it for themselves from their core so that they will always know where to find that small smile in life.

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Who are you sitting next to? Who needs you? Who is quietly reaching out? Who in your life is screaming out? How can you allow your joy to contagiously affect them while vicariously affecting you?

I love YOU! You are the source of regeneration when it comes to MY joy! THANK YOU! Thank you for always being there, for all your support, and for all the ways you quietly and not so quietly love me. I am consistently in awe of and inspired by you.

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*As always I look forward to sharing my journey with you. Please follow, share and like but most importantly comment. I love to hear from you!

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