just joy.

hello my joyful friends,

Happy new year to you all!  I have already written a post for this first of the new year, but am doing a take two.  The first draft was too…scattered. The tangent still looms large in my writing. So, this year I will focus!

After January has past and the review of the previous year; the best songs, the best TV shows, the best food trends, etc., have faded, after the resolutions have been attempted and forgotten, what is left? 

A gift. A new year.  Yes, an opportunity for a fresh start.  What do I want for the new year?  Joy!  Joy, of course! More joy for myself, more joy for my friends, more joy for my family, more joy for friends I have yet to know.  (Talking to you E!)

joy:  a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.

Joy is almost impossible to define, but you know it when you feel it.  It is brief.  It doesn’t come with a hangover like great pleasure or a vacation.  It does not go up and down like our moods.  Joy can surprise you at any time, anywhere. Joy is free.  Free to enjoy, (no pun intended!) free to give. Seems like joy, the word at least, was everywhere this year! Time magazine was feeling the joy. All Recipes featured joy on their cover, and even Martha was joyful this year!

Of course, I was feeling the joy! Boy o boy, was I feeling the joy!

And, what I learned last year is how easy it is to spark joy in others.  And, what I learned last year is how rewarding it is to spark joy in others.  I now know the warm feeling that comes over me when I hand a homeless person outside the grocery store holding up a sign “need money” a $20 bill, and a bag of snacks with a blanket and a warm pair of socks inside.  When he takes the money, then peeks inside the bag and says, “Oh, thank you! You made my night!”  True story and I have been thinking about it for two weeks now. 

That is what I want.  Just joy!

So, my joyful friends, my challenge for you this new year is to give it a try.  You don’t need a $20 bill, or a homeless person or a blanket. You only need another person and a kind word, a helping hand, a smile. 

I know you are all busy.  We don’t have enough time these days.  And, what has really suffered is kindness.  No time to be kind to each other because every second of our rushed day counts, right.  Shave off a few seconds by rushing out of the line at the grocery store to, well, do what?  To get home and rush through cooking dinner to rush to baseball practice, to rush home and…well, you get the idea.  And, when we fall in bed at night after rushing through our day, and stress about falling asleep fast to get up and do it again, it is too late. Too late to be kind to the cashier, too late to say thank you or I’m sorry.  Too late to hug your kid and tell them you love them. You don’t get that day back.  There are no do-overs in this life. 

But, there is tomorrow.  Each day is a new day. Each new day is an opportunity to do something different. To try something new.  You can spark joy right now!  Yes, do it!  Turn to the person next to you and say “Hi, good to see you!”  Text a friend and say, “Hey, just thinking about you!”  Pick up the phone, call your sister and say “Have a great day!”

You, my friend, have just sparked a little joy!  How do you feel!?

Until we meet again!