Unexpected Joy

It’s been some time since I made a post here, and (obviously) my most recent posts have been about my books. As an author, that seems to be an occupational hazard – you always feel a need to market those books. So, today, I thought I’d take a break from that – for your benefit and mine.

This time of year can rush by us in such a hurry. There are so many errands to run, gifts to buy, treats to make, people to visit. For some, this is their favorite time of year, while for others it’s a difficult time for various reasons. I happen to fall into the earlier category, although some current situations threatened to throw me headlong into the later one instead. That’s when I started to find joy in unexpected places.

I’ve begun to notice how easy it is to have joy, regardless of our circumstances. Let me give you a few examples.

Earlier this year, our family made a trip that took us to an amazing museum. As we pulled into the underground parking lot across the street, my husband asked if we wanted to take an umbrella. It had  been completely dry above ground, so I shrugged off the suggestion. Boy, was that a mistake! Before we made it to the museum entrance, we got caught it a downpour of epic proportions (and no, I’m not exaggerating). We took shelter in a child’s play tunnel – until it started to flood. It was at this point that I grabbed my son and we made a mad dash for the museum entrance – not as easy or successful as it sounds. The roadway we had to cross was flooded, and cars did not want to let us cross even though we were in a crosswalk. Once safely across, we picked a pathway to the entrance that was flooded worse than the street had been. Meanwhile, VERY LOUD thunder was crashing all around us. By the time we made it to the entrance, we were completely drenched. (And despite buying dry t-shirts inside, we didn’t dry off until late that afternoon.) We could have been mad, distressed, or any number of things. Instead, as we sat there dripping, I started to laugh. My son, taking his cue from me, joined in. We laughed and laughed, even when my husband joined us – relatively dry, having retrieved the umbrella. It’s now one of our son’s favorite memories of the museum.

A more recent example comes from yesterday – the day I was originally going to write this post. Out of necessity, I replaced my old laptop last week. It was great for a couple of days, at which point, let’s just say – it wasn’t. So, I spent the entire day yesterday on the phone with tech support and in reinstalling everything after we did a complete system restore. But, I’m not upset. I’m grateful for my new computer. I’m grateful for a patient IT person on the other end of the line. Fortunately, while I have deadlines coming up, those deadlines weren’t yesterday. Sometimes things happen – that’s part of life. I’m just glad that they were fixable.

I guess the bottom line is that joy comes from gratitude and a decision to look for those things we can be grateful for. While I couldn’t afford the presents I wanted to give this year, I was able to give presents that were still from the heart. While my life isn’t as ordered as I thought it would be at this time, it does have order to it.

There is so much joy in everything around us. I’ve had several opportunities to walk past a Christmas tree lot in the last few weeks – It smells AMAZING! My children aren’t close around me, but I get to talk to them on a regular basis. I ended up sick on the day we were going to bake one of our traditional Christmas cookies, but my son sent some in the mail that arrived that very day. And for all of these examples, I could list dozens more.

Regardless of what holidays you celebrate this season – or even if you don’t celebrate any – there is joy to be found. Open your eyes and find it!



About Mary Ellen Bramwell

I am an author, wife and mother.
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