Little joys can make a difference

Yesterday on Twitter I said:

Find the little joys.

Treasure them.

I mean this sincerely. Our lives can be overwhelming. But I believe that the key to living a life worth living is to find these little joys.

If you follow me on Twitter, you may see these from me sometimes. A video of a bird singing. A photo of a flower. A sunset, or often a photo from a 737 as I fly to or from one of our licensing boot camps.

I may sound full of crap to you at the moment, but I believe this. I was walking out of a store the other day with my daughters, and my youngest just sort of walked out in front of me, and cut off a stranger who was trying to come in. I paused, let the stranger come in, let my eldest leave, and then left the coffee shop myself.

As we walked to the pet store, as we often do, I asked my youngest, “Can you do me a favor?”, followed by a “What’s that?”

I asked her to “Walk mindfully.”

If we go through life each watching out for each other, and perform small kindnesses, while noting these small joys, our lives can become calmer, more meaningful, and we can pass that along to others, who may even return the favor to others.

A few weeks prior to that incident, I was driving out of Kirkland after a busy morning at the office. There’s a construction project that has been going on forever, and will likely be going for a while more. The flagger at the project who controls the flow of trucks into and out of the project, has a tendency to wave as you drive by – almost like a “Hey, I hope you’re having a great day!” wave. When I passed her, I thought, that’s silly… but she insisted on making eye contact as I passed by – which made me sort of smirk – and she smiled.

I continued driving on this cold day, headed towards the grocery. As I pulled in, an older woman in the lot appeared confused, and a bit flustered. She was standing in the middle of the lane of traffic, clearly looking for her car. I pulled in and walked over to her, asking if she was okay. She explained her situation – she had gone to a medical appointment at a nearby clinic, and now could no longer remember where her car was parked. I felt awful for her, but she didn’t want to call family, out of embarrassment, and didn’t want a ride home. I gave her my card and told her to call me shortly if she needed a ride. I shopped, and upon coming out, saw her still wandering, and looking. I was worried, but stealthily drove around for a while, keeping an eye on her. Eventually, I saw her walking around with a nurse, and she must have called home for a ride. Short story, her husband called me and told me that the police were looking for her car, calling me back later with an update that they had found it.

That night, as I listened to my youngest play in a band concert, I pondered the events of the day. I’ll always do what I can to help others. But I believe the wave from the young woman in Kirkland had sort of slapped me back to mindfulness, and made me more aware of what was going on around me. As I said, we can pass these small joys, these small kindnesses, forward.

I love when my eldest gets trapped in a bout of giggle fits, or when she excitedly tells me about some academic accomplishment she has performed at school.

I love when my youngest locks her curiosity into high velocity, and assaults me with questions. Watching her brain work and digest facts is amazing. She also gives amazing bear hugs.

I love to learn – to learn something new – but I also love to teach. There’s nothing like teaching someone, and seeing that moment when… it clicks.

Since I was a child, I’ve had this tendency to get a shiver down my back as I get enveloped by something someone is teaching me. It reminds me of my favorite teachers over time, as it was a feeling I felt when I learned from them too.

I love the small beauties of nature that surround us every day. The mountains. The birds. A sunset. Clouds.

I love it when you’ve had a stressful day or week, and you meet with a good friend – and realize that they’ve got your back.

I love to close my eyes, and think back to the last time I was in Glacier, and how small it made me feel – while appreciating the sheer joy I felt, watching the sun set over Swiftcurrent Lake.

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