What is Joy?



Joy. What is joy? It’s clearly different for everyone. For some joy is lots of stuff, for others it’s being on vacation, yet others find joy in being with the ones they love. It’s ok. Whatever joy is to you, it’s ok. Find that joy in your everydays, and enjoy it, and let others do the same without judgment. 

Joy can come in so many different forms. When I was much younger I was always joyful. Why shouldn’t I be, young, no responsibilities, dinner on the table prepared by mom every night, a cozy bed to sleep in. But as we get older and life happens, maybe we aren’t joyful 24/7. “Are we supposed to be?” we begin asking ourselves. I think it’s at this point we begin to overthink things, mostly because we don’t know any better. Why aren’t I joyful 24/7? So we begin looking for answers. “Maybe if I had this, or maybe that”.

That’s how it was for me. So I got “this” and “that”, and come to find out it didn’t make me any more joyful. (I have to clarify here, I am a very joyful person just by nature). So I surmised it wasn’t “stuff” that would add to my joy. So soon I had kids, BINGO! That definitely added to my joy. With the birth of my first child it was joy like I’d never known before (after I got over the initial shock of being responsible for another being). I reveled in this amazing joy for 4 years. Then came my second child. Initially, not so much joy. Being born with so many issues we were unclear about what his future would hold. But out of his birth, and over the following years, I discovered a different kind of joy. 

For years before I ever had children, I would see a mother and a little girl walk the mall in my neighborhood. It seemed EVERY time I went to that mall they were there. The mother talking to the little girl, but the little girl never answered back. The first few years they walked that mall, the little girl (who was about 15) could barley walk and this amazing mother would almost carry her through the mall, determined to get her walking in for the day. I remember thinking, every time I saw them, “How awful that this poor girl can’t walk well”. And I remember also thinking what determination this mother had. Fast forward 15 years, and I STILL would see this mother daughter walking that mall. The daughter still didn’t speak, but her walking had gotten a little bit better. Well, that little girl at the mall had grown up, her mother had gotten visibly older, but still they walked. And I still thought what a shame that after all these years, this is a good as this girl can walk.

Then my son was born. Life is very strange. My son walked very late. And so it is…we too go to that mall and walk. My son needs his exercise and he needs the practice walking. We practice and practice and practice and he works so very hard. His walking gets better every year. Life has a way of changing perspective. Now when I see someone who maybe cannot walk that well, instead of thinking “Poor thing that she cannot walk very well”, I think, “Wow, how hard she must have worked to walk so well.”

So, back to my original topic, joy. My personal joy is in the tiny little accomplishments that my son makes, accomplishments that for another child and to another parent may be just part of normal development. For me, these tiny accomplishments are as if he has moved mountains! For me this is joy.


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