From a very young age my mother taught me that I have options and choices in life. Of course there are the very obvious choices like what to wear in the morning, what book to read next, etc. But what she was referring to was how I chose to live my everyday life. I could choose to be very cynical, I could keep “score” of other’s lives, complain and compare myself to others, etc. or I could find the joy.
I Choose Joy!
Granted my journey to Joy has not always been smooth and there have been a few bumps along the way but I think that is just part of the human process. Every now and then I do have a moody moment and find myself caught up in cynicism. It is in those moments that I take a step back and reflect on the situation and evaluate the issues. I often find that the problem is fleeting and not worth surrendering my joy. Taking down the Christmas decorations is the perfect example of a task in life where you have the option of complaining, making it a neutral task, or finding the joy.
Truth be told, I had initially planned on taking down the Christmas decorations and tree when the kiddos went to bed. I figured it would just be easier that way and I could make certain everything was stored away properly. I started going through a box in our dining room that contained Christmas gifts we had received and in it was a bunch of Gingerbread themed items. My parents had given us the cutest basket full of nothing but Gingerbread men themed items like, a hot pad, tins, kitchen towels, large cookie pan in the shape of a gingerbread man, gingerbread books, cups, plates, hot chocolate, and so much more.
I figured I would just pack it all away for next year. Then it dawned on me that I, we, none of us, are guaranteed tomorrow, let alone next year. And then I repeated the phrase I say to myself every morning after first thanking God for another day…Live today as if it is your first, last, and best day of your life!.
So, instead of making the process of taking down the Christmas tree and decoration a boring and/or tedious task I busted out the gingerbread men basket and I chose Joy!
First we sat near the Christmas tree and had hot chocolate, chocolate cover gingerbread men, and talked about our favorite memories from Christmas 2012. I asked the kiddos to point out their favorite ornaments and I in turn pointed out mine (the ornaments the kiddos made of course, they are priceless…their little handprints, fingerprints, artistic expression, and I adore those that illustrate all three).
Then I read two books, The Gingerbread man and Ten Gingerbread Men. We discussed the books then put on some music and started taking down the Christmas decorations.
We had successfully taken something that could have otherwise been meaningless and put some joy into it and possibly came up with a great new family tradition.
So, no matter what it is you have to get done today. Maybe it is changing the sheets, washing the floors, etc. put on some music and try to remove the idea that it need be a chore, add a little joy. Perhaps you have papers to grade, work that you need to bring home, light an aromatic candle, make your favorite beverage and sip on it while your finish your work, and add a touch of joy. You have options in your life. Why waste this wonderful life you have been given on cynicism….what is keep you from your Joy? We are not promised tomorrow, why waste today?
How do you find your Joy?