I have a friend and colleague who often reminds me to find joy in unexpected places. Like many of you, I am tired. Like many of you, I have been pushed to my limits.
And also like many of you, I have found moments of joy where I never thought I would.
There is something about collective adversity that brings out the best in humanity. We smile more (with our eyes now, because no one can see us smiling under our masks), we offer to help a stranger, we enjoy the company of friends and no longer take it for granted. We laugh more. These are moments that have brought me glimpses of joy in what has also been a time of great sadness and challenge.
I don’t know what you are facing today. I do know what we have all been facing this year. I don’t know if you are finding this pandemic time to be energizing and productive, or if you are so lonely it physically hurts your heart. I don’t know if this time has helped you reconnect with a partner or loved one, or if this time together has shined a light on a relationship that is just not meant to be.
True joy comes from learning what feeds your soul and doing more of that. But right now it may feel as if that kind of joy is impossible to find.
I do know that even in the darkest and saddest of times, there can be moments of unexpected joy. Maybe joy can be found:
- finding money in your jacket pocket
- watching a dog cock its head when you say something to it
- in the moment your child hugs you when you are feeling sad
- in the anticipation of something you hope for
- in a song
- in a conversation
- when you try something new, even though you are scared and awkward
- catching up with an old friend
- meeting new friends
- hearing the words “I love you”
- in the moment after you let out all the emotions you have been holding on to
- listening to a cat purr on your lap
- finishing a project
They may be small, but I urge you to see them, to feel them, to recognize them and to let them fill you with a little bit of happiness.
Maybe finding these small and unexpected moments of joy will lead you to those bigger, soul-energizing, lasting experiences of joy. And if not, keep looking for those unexpected moments, those moments that seem ordinary and mundane but are filled with something that feels like joy for you.
What unexpected joy have you found?