1. a deep feeling or condition of happiness or contentment
I have been trying to capture images of joy over the past week or so and the task has been more difficult than expected. I have attended three Christmas parties, a Christmas festival, a children's program at church as well as work, home and the usual stops in my week.
Today we are receiving our first winter storm of the season with packing snow and sleet, rain and wind. There are no school cancellations but most children will look out at the white world this morning with delight. Many adults will not as they prepare to commute to work and pull out their snow shovels again.
The first picture was taken in 1963 and my brothers and I are having a good laugh. Perhaps my father was making a silly face or maybe we were giddy because we were allowed to sit on the hood of the car. Children know how to find joy in small things.
Street performers are found in many big cities. In this block of San Francisco we saw a man tap dancing for hours for a donation. Another young musician leaned against a post as he skillfully played a mournful tune on his flute. There were no smiles on their faces. But this quartet attracted attention with their upbeat melody and hand clapping happiness. Their infectious joy brought a smile to more than one person.
Would I find joy in the hospital? There is a palliative care ward here, but no maternity ward. Many patients are waiting for a nursing home bed. Staff and volunteers are hosting Christmas parties on each floor this month complete with turkey, ham and all the trimmings. Families are invited to the meal and musicians from the community provide live entertainment.
I watched one man walk to the dining room on his new prosthetic leg, a big smile on his face. A couple got up and danced to a lively tune. She has premature advanced dementia and her attentive husband's tenderness brought tears to my eyes.
One of my crankiest patients came to the party with two of her daughters. She had a rare smile on her face and wanted to have a picture taken with her family. She looked surprisingly happy and huggable and was so pleased with the shot that she asked for extra copies.
Yes, I did find glimpses of joy, but they were too often hidden by the bustle, busyness and stress of everyday life. It would have been easier to write about the unhappiness I found...
For Remember Whensday I ask, " Where have you found joy?"
The search continues...