We met at a popular coffee shop. It had been two years since we had been able to visit. I was looking forward to the time with my friend and colleague, Lee.
Lee and I caught up on various events in life. We had both been through a great deal since we last saw each other. His father had died in the past year. He had also had some health concerns. He and his wife are preparing to move to a smaller home to be more economical. I care for my mother at home who is blind and very arthritic. My partner has been unemployed for almost a year. My job is in the midst of a major transition. There have been several real life stresses which we’ve both been carrying.
Out of the blue, in Lee’s characteristic and spontaneous way, he asked: where do you find joy? The question clearly caught me off guard. What came to mind were the daily stresses I experience and my frustration living in a very conservative region of the country. Responding to my groping for words, he reiterated, “I didn’t ask if you find joy but where do you find joy?”
As he refocused my thoughts, what came into my awareness were some very simple aspects of my life. I began by talking about my home life: the times I find job with my partner doing very simple things like riding bikes in a local park or watching him make new culinary delights, including home-made ice cream, sausages, and grilling a wide variety of foods. (He’s a much better cook than I am.) I also thought about the joy I experience in nature, watching the trees in our yard grow and change with the seasons, the migration of birds, and the budding of flowers. I also thought about my time in prayer and meditation as well as the time I spend writing. In these simple aspects of life, I find a great deal of joy.
While I’m often aware of the stress of life, and those stresses are very real, Lee’s question enable me to recognize that I often don’t savor joy even though it’s a part of my life.
It was good to see Lee. I wish our paths crossed more often. There is nothing like time spent with friends. To use the words of the Spanish mystic, Teresa of Avila, “What a great favor God does to those who are placed in the company of good people!” It’s because of the great favor I received from time spent with Lee that I ask this simple question: where do you find joy? Look for it. It’s there.
© 2010, emerging by Lou Kavar, Ph.D.. All rights reserved.