Editor’s Note: Introducing Following Your Joy’s first guest blogger! The honor goes to my favorite guy in the whole world—my husband, my cheerleader, my best friend, my soulmate, my live-in comedian, my fellow joy-follower, Bill Stimpson.
A new lesson for me is that gratitude and joy go hand-in-hand. Where there is joy, gratitude is always present. And when I come from a place of gratitude, joy will certainly follow. After seeing this idea in writing now, I feel a bit silly making such a simple announcement!
But until this past week, though, I never really understood it.
I don’t know that it’s possible to live a life that is joyful in all moments, but that doesn’t stop me from trying. Just like everyone else, I have those rough days, or sometimes rough stretches of days, when joy seems like a foreign concept. I recently had a particularly challenging week, culminating in a Friday that I thought would never end. However, it all changed in an instant, with a simple expression of gratitude.
An office getaway
That day, I needed to get away from the office for lunch. So along with a few of my co-workers, we went out and hit one of the local hotspots, specializing in all things chicken. Unfortunately, the place was completely packed, overbearingly loud, and filled with no fewer than 30 giant flat-screen TV’s…all providing the latest important updates in natural disasters, political turmoil, sports scandals, and, of course, wonderful products that would surely change my life in an instant. That atmosphere wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. Oh well, it still felt good to get away and I needed something to eat anyway.
After twenty or so minutes of strained conversation, our food finally arrived. I was starving and ready to dig right into my mouthwatering-looking chicken wrap. But, instead—in a stroke of good fortune—I paused and took a moment to acknowledge my food. I thought about each aspect of my lunch, where it all came from, and all the people that were involved in helping to create this meal for me. I felt especially grateful for the chicken that had, obviously, gone through the ultimate sacrifice so I could have a nice lunch.
Suddenly, my day seemed not so daunting. In fact, I felt amazingly better!
So while my coworkers were busy having a heated argument on the odds of the success of Tiger Woods’ marriage, I was having an amazing moment by myself. No one would have ever known.
A feeling of peace
The gratitude I had for my chicken wrap spread within me like wildfire. I became grateful for my coworkers, grateful for my job. Grateful for my health, for my beautiful and cozy townhome, for all the wonderful friends and family in my life, and on and on. And most of all, of course, I was grateful for the amazing life that I have with my soulmate, Michelle, and the incredibly rich life we have created for ourselves.
This immense gratitude then manifested into joy; joy that completely filled me. The irony of the situation didn’t escape me either: Amidst all the chaos, I, who had arrived at the restaurant in such a hopeless state of mind, appeared now to be the only soul in the entire place that felt at peace.
My day had completely changed in only a moment’s time. And believe me, a chicken wrap has never tasted so good!
When I got back to work, all the day’s challenges were still there. But in light of my new attitude, everything seemed more doable. I completed my work, and I looked forward to a refreshing weekend. Even the thought of coming back to work on Monday seemed okay.
Again, I took a moment for myself—this time I was grateful for my experience at lunch, which had unexpectedly made such a joyful impact on my day. But more than that, I was grateful for this new life lesson—one that I knew would serve me well in the future, when I might once again find that joy has temporarily eluded me.
Bill Stimpson is a life enthusiast, personal growth addict, and part-time writer. For Bill, humor is a priority and a day is never complete without at least one good belly laugh!
Where has a moment of gratitude in your life turned into a feeling of joy?