So…I don’t have a ten step formula for finding joy.
I think because I write a site with the words about finding it that people have come to expect me to have the solution in ten easy steps that we could work on over the weekend while drinking our Starbucks lattes and laughing at life and wondering why we hadn’t sought this joy filled world earlier. But you all know the truth – there is no book, no perfect words, no papers, no nothing that can artificially create formulaic bubble gum and glitter and rainbow every day joy.
Instead, what I’ve learned in my own life, is that joy is an opening of the heart.
It’s in being willing to risk feeling and letting the numbness that is so easy to adopt go.
And that? That can be scary. We live in this guarded world of I’m fines and greats and okays and I don’t cares and sures and whatevers and it is as it is type hearts. And all of those words that seem to protect us? It numbs our heart. It’s great for the short term but then as the journey moves forward we’re kind of left just treading water wondering where in the world all the happy went and wondering what on earth we’re doing.
Slowly. Day after day. The heart becomes numb. Not caring. Not wanting to risk hurting, and in that guarding it shuts down joy.
We can be happy, but happy is not joy.
Happy comes and goes as it’s dependent on the moment, but joy can stay because joy is a willingness to seek out good in a life that isn’t perfect. It’s being open to feeling again and in that feeling knowing that there will be pains and hard stuff but we will also be able to feel the good.
We just have to see it again.
Joy is a waking of the heart.
It’s allowing one to live freely without masks. It’s in being willing to admit to others that we have bad days so that when we have good days we can be thankful for them. It’s in being determined to find that one good thing in a day of horrible and being thankful for it. It’s in giving ourselves grace for all the times when we stumble and fall and stumble and fall again.
It’s in breathing a bit deeper and learning to love the simple things.
And slowly, slowly, as if peeling an onion away of I don’t cares joy can be revealed in the most simplest of places.
In a toddler’s smile amid a room full of busy. The sunrise. The birds in the morning. The grass worn away under the swingset. The elderly gentlemen chatting loudly at Starbucks while I work. The freedom to write. The feel of the leather chair on my arms. An unexpected blessing in the midst of trials. A heart that hopes even in the midst of sadness. The teenager who just wants to talk. The smell of clean laundry. The ringlet of hair that curls on your toddlers head. Joy surpasses good days and bad days and medium days and ordinary days.
It becomes gratitude, not expectations.
Joy can permeate a life.
We just have to be willing to look for it.
We just have to be willing to see the messes in the moment and see the beauty.
I believe in you.
I believe that you too can see those sweet moments.
I believe you can push through the hard days.
I believe that happy moments can be found.
I believe that you will know you are enough.
I believe that you too will find joy.