Finding three moments of joy every day
: on joy is a discipline, making a joyful moments list, Find Joy In Ordinary Things illustrated poem
HopeMail #120 | HopeMail is a newsletter about life lessons I’ve learnt or reflected upon recently. Plus my drawing, the occasional comic and poem. If a friend shared this with you, and you'd like to subscribe, c'mon in.
How are you doing recently?
In my previous issue “Feeling the pandemic blues”, I shared that I was feeling down and overwhelmed.
But recently, these things are increasingly getting to me: loneliness from the severe lack of in-person human interactions with others, the confined boundaries, the sameness of every day, the bad news. Man, the bad news. COVID-19, climate change, Taliban, flood, drought, suicide, hunger, job loss, death.
I needed tangible skills to help me go through the funk. And I chanced upon this book, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant.
One of the chapters is about taking back joy. I’ve been an advocator of finding joy ever since “depending on circumstances to be happy” revealed itself as foolishness to me.
At a point when my life hit bottom, when breathing was painful, one of the things I did to kick back up to the surface, is by finding moments of joy in seemingly ordinary things—gifts mercifully given by God.
That—noticing moments of joy, the shifting of dependence from situations/people to a God who is absolutely dependable, was one of the things that have kept me going over four years of darkness.
It inspired this poem.
Find Joy In Ordinary Things
A cup of tea
a hand to hold
the morning sun
shining through the curtains
a cool evening stroll
reading the best book
laughing at lame jokes
think of these things—
and your heart will
never get old.
It wasn’t that long ago, only a few years back… but it felt like a distant memory now. By God’s grace, healing has taken place and will be completed.
Though I do regularly enjoy moments of joy, it didn’t occur to me to jot them down. Reading the book gave me an idea of doing it differently. I could write down three moments of joy every day. Not just think about them, but write them down.
Because we are wired to focus on the bad things more than good things (just think of how easy it is to forget ten good compliments but focus on one negative remark), writing down our joyful moments help us notice, appreciate, and remember the moments more.
I’d like to imagine this as a reservoir of sunshine to dip into when things in life get dark.
So, I started doing this—writing down joyful moments of my day. It’s not yet a habit. But I pray that it’ll continue in the days to come.
Here are some of my joyful moments:
Seizing the opportunity of the cool weather (thanks to hours of rain the previous night), we went for a lovely two hours stroll in Lake Gardens. Came home thoroughly refreshed.
I was in my frenzied thoughts when for unknown reasons, I paused. Suddenly, the external became quieter than the internal. In the quietness, I heard the songs of insects. You know, the one you can hear at night. Creek-creek, creek-creek, it goes. What a symphony!
Finally hitting the bed after a long, long, long workday.
That’s a sampler of my list! I hope you’d consider doing this idea of writing down your three moments of joy daily.
It's ok to be sad about the baseline, but in those tears, we must also fight—fight to push the goodness and humility through…We should shout with joy from the depths of the world's despair, and in doing so, not let that despair break our spirits, our souls. - Shannon Segwick Davis
🔗 Further reading:
Choosing to live joyfully is a discipline by Sally Clarkson (2-3 minutes read)
What I’m drawing
I used water-resistant fine liner pens on a sturdy 220gm heavyweight cartridge paper for this drawing. The 3D effect of the hand and the cup was created with different shading techniques: hatching, crosshatching, and scribbling. I hope you’ll be encouraged whenever you see this artwork at home or in your office.
That’s all for now, folks. Till the next issue, take care, start your joyful moments list.