Just Frances

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Reflections of joy

This entry was posted on Thursday, July 1st, 2010 by Frances Ryan.
Tags: widowhood, happy, goals, giggles

My 2010 New Year’s Resolution was to find a little bit of joy each day. I started a gallery so that I could post a picture of each day’s joyful finding because I knew it would force me to continue on with my resolution.

Now at the half-way mark, I’ve learned a lot about joy. You see, before I became Just Frances, I was one of those sickeningly happy people. Whilst I wasn’t happy every moment of every day, I was almost always upbeat and positive. I radiated joy and I laughed. I laughed a lot. But for the last 14+ months, I’ve struggled to be that happy person. I’m not depressed, I’m just no longer blissfully happy. Most days, I’m just sort of neutral. And some days, I’m incredibly sad. But, thankfully, some days I’m pretty happy.

I learned that joy can be difficult to find when there’s no one to share your day-to-day life with. Partly because you pay less attention to your surroundings when you can’t excitedly point them out to the person you love; partly because when there’s no one to share the joyful moments with, the stressful, mundane, or painful moments overshadow any joy that entered your life.

But I’ve also learned that if you allow yourself to reflect on your day and make yourself step back from the gloom to search for the joy, you’ll find something happy. And if you don’t allow yourself to take those moments for granted, you can almost hear them shouting at you to be noticed and appreciated.

Sometimes that little piece of joy is so overwhelming that you don’t even need to think to identify it:

February 26, 2010: A pint of beer in a pub in (Old) York with Mom and my in-laws. Happy happy, joy joy!

Sometimes that little piece of joy is so subtle, so hidden, that you have a hard time realizing it existed in the first instance:

April 18, 2010: A lazy Sunday on the couch reading a trashy novel, sipping tea, munching on fresh berries, and listening to Etta James. Joy!

Sometimes that little piece of joy comes when you need it most and it can brighten up even the bleakest of days:

April 20, 2010: I wasn’t quite sure where today’s joy would come from because it was so crazy at work. Late afternoon, I had to take a frantic and un-planned trip to another building on the other side of campus. As I got out of my car and quickly walked toward the building, a butterfly started to fly near me then landed on my arm and sat there for maybe 10 seconds before moving on. I stopped in my tracks, amazed at the simplistic beauty of the creature and felt this amazing smile come over my face. It calmed me down and really made the entire rest of my day joyful.

And sometimes that little piece of joy needs to be conjured up:

June 5, 2010: The peonies are blooming and I had to bring a couple inside to look at. Joy!

I know without a doubt that Paul wants me to be happy which helps me in my ongoing quest to find that happiness I lost when I lost him. I see glimpses of it every now-and-then and there are times when I can feel it wrapped around my very being. One day, I know it will be with me more often than not. One day, joy and happiness will radiate once more. And when it does, I will try not to take it for granted.

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