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Joy comes from many different sources. During the month of February, thanks in part to Valentine’s Day, people take a little extra time to share their love with one another — sharing the joy that makes each relationship special. For me, joy comes from my family, my work, God, and countless little everyday moments — and sometimes a mix of all of the above. Joy is something I think about frequently. Specifically, I think about what gives me joy in life. When you take time to think about what offers you the most joy, it pulls you out of the fast-paced daily grind. It’s a way to ground yourself and really look at the moments that make up your day. When you’re getting older, you may look back on your life at the moments that brought you the most joy. For a lot of people, myself included, you’ll think about the lives you touched and the differences you made, whether big or small. This includes the lives of the people who are closest to you, from your family and friends to the people you work with every day. Sometimes it includes the lives of people you pass on the street and only see once. No matter the situation, what you put into the lives of other people can be a fundamental source of joy. For me, one of my greatest sources of joy comes from my most important relationship — my marriage. My wife was my first and only girlfriend. I still remember the day I asked her to be my girlfriend. It was December 14, 2002. I had dated before that, but I had never gone as far as asking anyone to be my girlfriend. Now we’re going on 14 years of marriage. In searching for joy, it’s easy to be distracted by various things in life. For some people, it’s career and money. For others, it can be their kids. I say that as a parent myself. It’s easy to pour your entire life into your kids — so much so that other relationships can pass you by. Some people forget about the foundational relationship they have with their spouse. They forget that they’re a team, working together to build their own lives, as well as the lives of their kids. There’s a certain balance to it. Of course, our kids are an immense source of joy, too! They’re a part of so many moments that, if you’re not careful, can slip away. Here’s what I mean.
Back in December, there was one evening when my wife and I returned from a Christmas party. We got home around 9:30. Ordinarily, our 5-year- old daughter would have been in bed by this point, but this evening was a little different. The moment I stepped through the door, she wanted to show me a Christmas tree she had colored. She was excited to share it with me — but she wasn’t quite finished with it. Given how late it was, I could have told her it was time for bed and that she could finish it later. But I didn’t. I saw how happy she was, and I stopped myself short. She finished her drawing and showed it to me. She was absolutely beaming as I told her how great it was. It’s so easy to breeze past little moments like this. When you look back on your life, it’s these moments that will have the most significance. It all comes back to the joy that was created in that moment. My daughter showed me something she was proud of — and I paused to share in that joy, recognizing what she had accomplished. As I leave you this month, I encourage you to think about what brings you the most joy. I do have a little more I want to share on the topic, but I’ll leave that for next month. Until then, I hope you have a great February!
–Ja y Willi s
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