Ever notice how its easier to stay joyful when the sun is shining? I had a bad day today…feeling too many to-do’s weighing me down, still feeling a bit of a virus hanging onto my body. I felt as if I was stuck in a black cloud. Walking around in this black cloud, I couldn’t even see how nice it was outside. And I mean it was GORGEOUS today…the kind of warm fall day that reminds people why they live in Seattle anyway. Luckily though, I have a 4-year-old ball of joy who helps keep me laughing and seeing that joy is mostly just a choice to focus on the beauty that is all around me.
Before class tonight we had a bit of extra time so my son and my baby and I went to Gasworks Park to walk around. It was so nice and sunny and beautiful you couldn’t help but be thankful for the sun. We climbed to the top of the Gasworks hill and looked down on Lake Union below. My son stepped to the edge of the hill and put his arms out. He didn’t just want to look at the view, he wanted to FLY through it. He needed to experience it. It brought me joy to watch him experience this beauty in a tangible way.
And it reminded me of last Saturday’s torrential rainstorm. We had gotten free tickets for the Husky game and with my wife and daughter heading to the school carnival, my son and I decided to brave the elements to watch the football game. Our plan was to ride my bike with him on the trailer bike down to the stadium to beat the parking hassles. As we left home and rode towards the stadium, I called out to my son, “Are you getting sprayed at all from the bike tire?” He was quite a bit and then said, “Maybe just a little. But don’t worry Papa– I’m having fun! You can’t always stay dry!”
Sure enough by the time we arrived at Husky Stadium we were both already pretty wet but he hadn’t been sprayed “just a little bit” but my bike tire- he was drenched head to toe with muddy water! His hair had dirt embedded into it and I had to wipe his eyes and nose from the dirt collected there. His response? “That was FUN Papa!”
So often our emotional reality isn’t dependent on the sun shining or the rain stopping or if we get all our to-do’s accomplished or anything like that. More often than not, it’s a choice we make to enjoy the ride and see the best in any situation. After I left my family and headed to class and the stress of the to-do’s started to creep in, I simply ignored the rising stress. Instead I rolled my window down, turned up my music as loud as I could get it, and gave joy full control over my life. It hit me then that a lot of times I must CHOOSE joy and CHOOSE gratitude…these things aren’t always automatic. But tonight, I felt thankful that we get the choice to say no to stress and yes to joy and contentment.
All it took was a 4-year-old boy to show me how.