Finding Joy in Troubling Times

These are troubling times and everyone is struggling. You may be feeling a bit weary too, as are we. While there is no denying the disruptive realities in our world, we also know that what we focus on has a great deal to do with what shows up in our lives. That is the basis of the 1st Vital Question: “Where are you putting your focus?”

If you devote a lot of your mental energy to all the problems swirling around the news and the internet, it is easy to get stuck in the Victim Orientation, with its fear-based emotions and reactive behaviors. When we do this, frankly, we get exhausted and are not our best self.

David had two experiences this week that helped him realize there is plenty of joy in the world if he was willing to pay attention. These two stories lifted his mood throughout the week and supported him to focus more on the awe in the moment.

The first experience was in a local park where he often walks. He loves the multitude of birds, the flowering vegetation, quaint pond with ducks and the trailing baby ducks, and the wide-open space. The park is large, so it is easy to maintain social distancing, even while being an avid people watcher.

While walking he saw at a distance a little girl, her mother, and an older woman, most likely the grandmother. He guessed the little girl was about 6 or 7 years old, and they clearly were having a good time, laughing and playing together. As he got closer, he saw that they had made a game of throwing an object.

The object they were throwing wasn’t a ball, or Frisbee. It was the little girl’s shoes! The girl and her mom were competing to see who could throw her sneaker the farthest.

David was drawn to their laughter—it was so irresistible and uplifting. He shouted out to them, “Who is the champion shoe thrower?” The little girl threw her arms toward the sky and exclaimed, “Me!”

The joy-filled connection lightened the rest of the walk. On the way home, he listened to a radio interview with a father about how he and his family were managing during the pandemic. The father described the challenge of living in a large urban area, but they were blessed to have a small park nearby. The father shared, “I have young children, so we created a game to look for and explore bugs in the park.” At that point one of the little girls vividly described a centipede, in the way only a young child could. Hearing the description and creativity of looking for bugs brought a smile to David’s face.

Shoes and bugs. Small, daily things that can elicit joy during troubling times.

Donna is exploring her own ways to find joy; riding her bike and feeling the wind in her face, enjoying a cup of tea, tending to colorful flowers in our yard, and reading a great book.

We also asked our team what brings them joy these days and their responses included:

• Playing family games with the kids
• When my dog lays his head on my lap
• Bear hugs from my kids
• Finding a new tomato (especially the first tomato of the season) on a plant
• Seeing a flower bud open and plants grow in my garden
• Sharing a meal with my husband – without phones or any distractions
• Smelling coffee brewing in the morning

And now, we ask you, what brings you joy during these troubling times? Your answers will require that you focus your attention—as a Creator—on what has heart and meaning for you.

We’d love to hear from you if you wish to share.