Hope :: Joy Can Be Found

My nephew, Ewan, on September 26, 2022 taken by Alyssa Stonestreet and posted to Facebook; picture downloaded and used with permission.

The Joy of Children

Kids kind of scare me, which some people find surprising since I taught elementary school for three years. However, one thing I love about kids is how they find joy in almost everything!

In the picture above, Alyssa and Ewan went for a walk. They discovered these wildflowers and Ewan wanted nothing more than to pick them. Following the pictures, they took them home and put them in a vase. It was a simple event, but the joy on his face is more than apparent.

My nephew, Ewan, playing with a pot lid on June 20, 2021
Ewan playing with a pot lid on June 20, 2021
My nephew, Ewan, playing with a pot lid on June 20, 2021
Ewan playing with a pot lid on June 20, 2021

The pictures here were taken when Ewan was just over two years old. He loved digging through cabinets to find his grandma’s pots and lids. He brought this one back to the living room and spent a good half hour playing with that lid.

The Joy of Adults

As adults, it tends to be a little more difficult to find joy in life. We look past the little things because we’re so focused on the big picture. Stress has taken up such a large part of adults’ lives that it shoves everything else out of our minds.

As I said above, adult life is full of many stresses and stressors. Both positive and negative aspects of life bring stress; new jobs, new homes, new babies, loss of job, loss of a loved one, etc. No matter the change, it comes with stress.

Stress makes it very difficult to find joy. When joy doesn’t come automatically, you have to actively seek it.

"We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves." Buddha
Buddha quote created using Adobe Illustrator

I love this quote. There is so much truth to it. Life is going to have stress; if we’re waiting for joy to come to us, it’s never going to happen. However, if we learn to control our thoughts and start seeking the positive in life, our minds will begin to find calm in the chaos. As Buddha says (rephrased), once our minds have calmed, joy will naturally enter.

How to Find Joy

Children, especially young children, are exceedingly and inherently innocent. Most have never internalized stress, and the joy they exude proves this.

It’s not easy to approach life with a child-like attitude, but the more we practice this skill, the better off we’ll be.

Life is too short and too precious for us to squander it away focused on the stress and negatives of life. If we openly seek peace and joy, we will find it.

I’ve seen people write down their stressors (both good and bad) and light the paper on fire or send it through the shredder. This obviously doesn’t actually get rid of the stress, but it’s taking action and proving to yourself that life is more than stress.

As I said, joy doesn’t just happen. We have to actively seek it out and work towards living in joy.

Let’s seek joy today. We don’t have to live in misery.

Brittany Stonestreet signature with dove
Brittany Stonestreet signature with dove
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