Little Boosts of Joy
As we go through life, we encounter many challenges. We have bad days when we cannot seem to do anything right and when the last ball drops we feel like failures. There are times when we feel like we don’t deserve what life has given us and times when we are frustrated that we haven’t been given more. It hovers over us like a storm cloud, invading our thoughts and emotions until all we are is a dense ball of self-doubt and self-loathing.
Fortunately, there are good days too. Days when we just can’t seem to stop smiling. Days we run into a good friend we haven’t seen in a while or eat a particularly good meal. These days are perfect for doing an extra activity and being proactive. Perhaps we even woke up knowing that the day will be great and that no matter what happens, nothing can bring us down. We feel great without a bit of tiredness and we are ready to tackle whatever the day might bring.
Then there are the days where everything evens itself out. We have our highs and lows but nothing ever really swings us in either direction permanently. Maybe we had a conversation we didn’t enjoy but then we were able to take some time for ourselves. Maybe we woke up feeling tired and can’t seem to shake it off, so the rest of the day we just glide through our routine without any extra steps. It’s just life and we go through it.
Without speaking for everyone else, I tend to have the in-between, glide through life type of days. That was the type of gal I was back at home in the US and I’m like that here as well. Just so, we can take away little things from these types of days as well. While it’s easy to just go through life as a bystander, an observer, and let everything slip past, I try to find the little moments that make me happy and use those to bring joy into the day.
Little boosts of joy, you might say, to stay with me.
These moments can of course be a variety of things and I would like to share some with all of you guys:
On the way back home from Grepen, we sit Rosemond, Jacques, and then myself on Rosemond’s moto. Getting a free ride to and from Grepen now is a blessing in and of itself, but what really tickles my peach is Jacques. You see, Rosemond often wears a winter hat with tassels. They often fly in Jacques’s face while we’re on the road. So very nonchalantly, Jacques reaches up and slowly ties the two tassels together. Some days he slips them underneath the straps of Rosemond’s bag. It amuses me every time.
Recently, five residents from Maison Bon Samaritain and I were taking a little trip to Lekòl Jezi Mari to give a gift to the preschool classes. On the walk there and back, we formed a nice line in likeness to ducklings. We were kind of spread out, with spaces of 2-4 people between us, but it made me smile. We were probably an interesting-looking group with a white person leading the way and looking behind her every five seconds to make sure the older people behind her were still alive and there.
Occasionally when I’m walking—scratch that—every time I walk down the street, I tend to make sure I greet nearly everyone I pass by. Especially if I look in their direction. Sometimes it is a swift bob of the head or small hand raise and sometimes it’s a quiet “bonjou.” Occasionally, I’ll see a group of people ahead of me either walking in my direction or in a group off to the side. These specific groups I notice are often groups of women with baskets on their heads or school children in their uniforms. There is a sudden urge within me when I pass to cheerfully and loudly exclaim, “BONJOU” and “KOMAN NOU YE?” For the women, they all cheerfully and loudly give their own responses back to me. With the children, they are a chorus speaking in unison. Both instances give me a brighter step to my walk.
As sad as it might be, I enjoy listening to the bands that pass in the streets when there is a funeral. They are fun to listen to and I’ve come to recognize the songs and, slowly, the bands that play them as well.
Recently, there have been many little things for me to smile about in church. Despite struggling to keep up with the 30+ minute homily and 30 minutes after church announcements, there are some really adorable puppies wandering around the church now. There are also some really cute chicks as well. However, the other day the puppies were more active than usual, climbing up to where the priest sits and just made a nuisance of themselves.
In addition to that, the church also has a blue canvas roof that is starting to look like it has seen better days. Well, it rained the night before and during mass on two different occasions, the wind decided to use the water caught in the folds of the canvas and aggressively baptize the congregation. I was spared from the dousing and giggled with contained laughter along with everyone else.
God decided to get me back though. At Grepen, I was washing some dirt off my legs from a standing spigot. When I went to turn it off, the entire pipe flew out of its connecting pipe in the ground from the water pressure and soaked my entire front. I reattached it and made to leave when it did it again. I was wringing my shirt out when Rosemond and Jacques found me to head back home. As if to rub it in my face, Rosemond turned the spigot on and off without incident.
On a different note, I also find joy in the little pains from a job well done. Whether it is stiff shoulders from shoveling dirt into a wheelbarrow or scratches on my hands from the thorns of a lime tree, those are still moments of satisfaction and joy.
So, despite how the day drags, how tired you are, or how disconnected you feel, look for that split second of joy. Rejoice in those tiny interactions, for that moment, and take the time to thank God. It is not always easy and it’s not always at the forefront of our minds, but it’s important. It is a practice of trust and a practice of joy. What can you thank God for today?