Where's My Joy?

I woke up in a panic this morning. I can’t find it. I looked everywhere - under the bed, behind the couch, the junk drawer. Oh – maybe it was shoved in some box in the basement. Maybe it is just waiting for that moment when I need it. I’ll go check.

I run down to the basement. “Please, God. Please let be there,” I thought.

I start grabbing boxes, opening them up. Throwing out all the other misplaced items in my life. “Oh – there’s that hat, I knew I didn’t throw it away.” I throw it back in the box, hoping I remember it’s there so I can wear it next winter.

I give up on that box and go to the next one.

I found it!

This “it” wasn’t the thing I was down there for, but it was a golden nugget. It was my box full of memories. My first haircut, my first school play, my first love, my first kiss. I was engrossed. I just enjoyed the moment. Reminisced.

And in that moment, my old friend was back. But when I was done reminiscing, once I shut that box – POOF – it’s gone again. Where did it go? Why does it keep leaving me?  

Hours pass. All morning I’m down there looking. I was surrounded by piles -- a pile for Goodwill, a pile of clothes to try on, half open boxes, pictures sorted out.

I felt defeated.  

“What was missing?” you ask.

The Joy in my life. It’s. Just. Gone.

The crazy thing is, I can’t remember when it left. Sometimes it does visit me. But it’s like an old friend that lives far away. It visits me once in awhile, shows me a great time, but doesn’t stay.

I remember Joy as a child. Having that carefree feeling, experiencing all my firsts. I remember Joy when I first met my husband. How over the moon I was, my heart pounding out of my chest – in a good way.

Some of us feel that if we just had more, our Joy would stay. If I just had a bigger house, a higher paying job, more money. It’s like making it more attractive for the Joy to stick around, not leave us. But do we really feel more joyful with things?

And when everything seems great on the outside – you have a good paying job, great family, nice house. It may not be the same for you inside – the stress, the fear, the overwhelm, the responsibility, the need to be perfect – or at least appear that way.

While you may find Joy in the bigger things that you pursue, the truth is, abundance does not make us happy. Have you ever known a person who has lots of stuff, yet seems unhappy, almost Joyless?

Instead of looking for Joy in the big things – a bigger house, a higher paying job, you may want to make it a practice to start noticing it in the smaller things in life. Notice it all around you. You may discover that you haven’t lost it. It’s there. You’ve just been looking past it.

Every day we have Joyful moments that invite us in, yet we turn down the invitation. Not enough time. I got more important things to do.

Your soul is starving. Feed it. Take a moment to notice the beauty in the flowers, the warmth of the sunshine, smell the air, listen for laughter, hug a loved one, connect with people, call a friend, run, sing on your drive home, play cards. Most importantly when you’re doing this, SLOW DOWN, SAVOR IT.

Remember that incredible feeling of Joy when experiencing life’s firsts? While you can’t get that back, you can enjoy new firsts. Play truth or dare with your spouse, have a poker night with your kids, run in the field with your dog  - why should he have all the fun?

And just as we do during a concert or a presentation, turn down or off your mobile device, your distractions. Your texts, your email, your facebook update, can wait. In this new context, you don’t have time for them. You’re too busy living.

Think of your deathbed confession. What will you talk about during those last moments of your life? Make a list. You might be surprised about what’s on there. But whatever it is, those are the things you should be doing. Make time for JOY!

Allyson Jannotta