I thought about writing tonight about how I had nothing to write and did not feel like writing; but then I did my daily 5 minute meditation. Tonight, it was a Happiness meditation with Cody Rigsby. Within seconds of knowing I'd be forced to confront happiness, I realized I knew exactly what I'd write about!
Bet you can't!
SURPRISE: I am going to write about Happiness and Joy!
This evening, I was texting with a friend and I said that despite all the challenges and all the pandemic and all the madness, that I was really very happy. Then, a moment later, I texted her about some frustrations I had today--friend drama for my middle daughter, the high school going all remote, probably 12 other things--an instant barrage of complaining.
And I questioned my own joy level--could I possibly be happy? Did my friend think me so contradictory that I was lying about my own happiness? Am I actually happy if no one sees it?
Sometimes, when my husband is upset about things or frustrated (in a loud way), I think to myself, "man, he's like so unhappy." Okay and by think, I mean, I open my big, uncontrolled mouth and accuse him of lacking joy and being unhappy. Which, obviously does not lead to joy. . .
He always replies, "Why would you think I was unhappy?"
(Erm, because you are shouting?). . .
BUT, the truth is, I was just being judgmental. The truth is, true joy exists in the midst of discomfort and horror and madness and frustration. True happiness should never be judged by how irritated you are in one moment.
True happiness and joy are things that are a steady drumbeat throughout your life. They are the songs that get stuck in your head; not the annoying ones like Baby Shark; but the ones that call you back to joy when everything has gone wrong. True happiness and joy are moments that shock you out of your irritation--and let's face it, there is always a lot to be irritated about--especially in the midst of a global pandemic that coincides with treason season and a billion other things.
The world is a hot mess. And everyone is annoying and annoyed.
But, true happiness and joy don't disappear at the first sign of trouble. So with that in mind, here is my list of the very real things that give me joy (and don't judge my list, I promise not to judge yours.) :
1. Political Memes (I don't even care which side they mock. I love mockery.).
2. Laughing at everything (cataract surgery, the plague, my mother's parking, myself)
3. That my husband always wants to have two points of physical contact when we sleep. (I hate cuddling. but he loves cuddling and loves me enough to need to be close to me. Really the best feeling in the world.)
4. When I hear my children plotting against me. (They are best at making messes and chaos. And when they work together, even against me, well I know I've raised a den of theives who will be loyal to the death).
5. Reading books.
6. Binging on Netflix.
7. Jelly beans with salty pretzels.
8. Unfinished, unstarted projects and long to-do lists (Completion is great, but it is an ending. I love beginnings and journeys!)
9. Watching my cat avoid my dog. (it is hilarious. and the dog is so patient.)
10. My friends who laugh with me at everything and don't tell me I am a monster.
11. My giant vegetable garden (it reminds me of my dad and his dad and my mother's dad and all those great grandparents of mine.)
12. Our childhood cancer family (we laugh, we cry, we mock, we hold each other up and we fight together for our kids.)
13. My work and my colleagues (I have so many. What a gift to be surrounded by so many different people who are demanding, brilliant and put up with my flights of fancy)
14. Homemade pickles and wine. (Like my garden, the things we created give me joy!).
15. Watching Lily row.
16. Watching Chloe run.
17. Watching Nicholas talk to everyone.
18. My husbands laugh (this actually might give me the most joy. Especially when I am the one who made him laugh).
19. Writing and knowing people read it. (You give me joy, because you are listening to me!).
And so many more things. . . .And all these things happen in the midst of frustration and fear and mess. But, somehow, the joys drive out the rage, every single time.