Joy to You and Me


I am nothing, if not entertaining.  I may not be the ‘pretty girl’, but I most certainly am the ‘funny girl’.  In addition to my big smile, I have a big laugh and a keen sense of humor to match it, and being able to make someone smile and/or laugh brings me great joy.  Time and time again, I have found that laughter really is the best medicine to cure a variety of maladies. 

Today, I was able to use both my smile and sense of humor to brighten some very special people’s day-the men who allow me to be a small part of their journey at the day shelter for homeless men where I work.  There is absolutely nothing even remotely funny about homelessness, as some of the men’s stories would leave you in tears and break your heart, but together, we have learned to find joy amidst the pain.  I wish that I had the most coveted resources, affordable housing and employment, readily available to offer to them, as that would really put a smile on the faces of all the men who enter our doors, but since I don’t have those precious commodities, I give them my best, which often includes a smile and something to make them chuckle.  I also have come to learn how much a smile and a laugh can mean to those who have so very little to smile and laugh about on many days, and on a rainy December day, we all were in need of a good laugh today.  So, that’s what I set out to do.

It is a well-known fact at the day shelter that many of the men are fans of a certain crime show that is aired daily in reruns, and multiple episodes are shown back to back.  I have never seen the show, but since my office is in close proximity to the television, I feel like I have seen every episode a number of times, just from the bits and pieces I overhear.  When I saw yet another episode come on the screen, I jokingly said, “Oh good; I was hoping that we were going to watch this today, because we just don’t get enough of it.”  The guys laughed and continued watching the mystery unfold.  About twenty minutes into the episode, as I walked through the shelter, I saw a famous actress on the screen, and without even knowing any of the details of the storyline, I declared, “She did it.”  This elicited some laughs and protests among the men, and one man said, “Miss Kristi, I think the butler did it”.  I thought he was making his own joke, but there was actually a butler being accused of the murder!  Despite their best attempts to sway me, I held fast to my original prediction, and as the show continued, some of the men would call out the latest details of the investigation.  Toward the end of the hour, I spotted several men smiling broadly and waving me over to where they were seated.  As I approached, they excitedly said, “You were right; that lady killed her husband”, and I celebrated as if my team had just scored the winning touchdown or hit a game winning shot, which made the guys laugh.  I then announced my retirement from my current position, in order to offer the local police dept. the use of my mad detective skills, which sent the guys into fits of laughter, as they shook their heads at me in amusement.  I am not doing this story justice, as you really did have to be there for the full effect, but that’s okay, because the people in most need of getting the joke and laughing at it did.  Mission accomplished!

For myself, I did something today that sounds so ridiculously trite, but it is one of the most difficult things for me to do.  When I found myself feeling quite happy for no particular reason at all, I allowed myself to be present and happy in the moment without analyzing it, second-guessing it, or doubting it.  There is a scene in “West Side Story” where Tony sings the song “Something’s Coming”, which is about Tony’s feelings of anticipation and excitement about something that is about to happen, but he doesn’t know what that something is.  He just knows that he is happy and looking forward to something, whatever that something may be.  That’s how I felt today, and I have had that same feeling other times, and rather than sabotage it, I embraced it like a long-lost love and held it close to my heart.  Joy definitely trumps sadness.

Recently, my pen pal and I had a discussion about the origins of my anxiety, and I couldn’t articulate what I wanted to say, which frustrated both of us.  Finally, my exasperated pen pal said, “You have to kick the anxiety to the curb and get through it.”  Obviously, we both know that it is not that easy, but there is some truth to what was said as it relates to me and the particular negative thoughts and events that contribute to my anxiety and depression.  Both are unwelcome guests, and I have been taking the necessary steps to distance myself from both.  Today, I chose joy, and I know that I made the right choice.

I am starting to realize more than ever how complicated I tend to make life for myself and for others sometimes, and I also am beginning to understand how the simplest things, like a smile, laughter, and the decision to be happy, can cause a chain reaction of bigger and better thoughts, feelings, and actions.  So, that’s what I did for myself and for others on day four of this venture, and I was able to truly see the joy in the journey.

Just one thing each day . . .

Categories: Just One Thing Each Day

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