My sister is a crafty card maker. She has all these wonderful stamps and makes really lovely cards for Christmas and other special occasions. She started into this hobby probably just after I became depressed. And one of the stamps she had was this quote from Richard Wagner, a musician and composer from the 1800s.
Joy is not in things, it is in us.
It’s short and sweet and says so much. Take it how you like. At that time, it was telling me that I would never be happy with anything around me because I couldn’t find anything happy within me. And again, it went back to me not being able to think straight, being stuck in this negative cycle. I have to work hard to remember that the only thing that can make me happy is me and how I learn to see the world. I needed reminders like that quote in my book. But reminders don’t always need to be written down.
Yesterday, I saw my 23 month old nephew, Little Brother Z, greet my friend Nicole at the door with the biggest, most genuine smile and hug. He had never met her before but he hugged her like he hugs his Aunty and I saw Joy in him. Joy is within all of us, from the very beginning. It is with time and experience that somehow we lose sight of it and forget that it’s there or start to believe that it was never there. And every so often, we need a reminder. Since the kids came into my life, I have been lucky enough to see the Joy shine through from their smiles everyday, their hugs and kisses and the quiet contemplation when they sit for a story from Aunty or Grandma. We all need reminders. No one is perfect enough to remember all the life lessons. Some lessons stand out more than others and sometimes it’s the horrible memories that stick out. But sometimes the reminder comes from a child’s laugh or a gentle, missed-the-mark kiss and even a “no” when Aunty asks for a hug, because you know that just as you step over the threshold, they will come running back to you for a hug and a kiss before you’re out the door.