I found joy in an unlikely place

What did you discover about what brings you joy? 

Were you able to come up with 10 things? Did you have trouble finding one or two? Is your list 50+ things long?

Whatever you discover is a-ok. This is your journey.

As I shared last week, joy is a highly underrated and highly desired feeling. Joy can also be a lifesaver.

I want to share a story with you. It may seem, at first glance, the opposite to our theme of joy. Keep reading. 

In 2010, I moved from Toronto to Vancouver. It was a big deal. I was the first and only daughter who would now be living more than 15 km from my parents. Three weeks after arriving on the West Coast, my father attempted suicide and nearly succeeded.

He struggled with bipolar depression for most of his life. My moving was not the reason for his attempt, and it was a catalyst. It was a very hard time. I had put off moving because I was afraid something like this would happen. And then it did.

Joy was the farthest feeling I and my family had at that time.

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Here’s what happened after that —

My parents were living apart at the time of his suicide attempt. During the week my dad was in the hospital, it was touch and go for the first days. Once my family knew he would survive, we made a plan to have him move back to my mother’s place. Slowly, with time, patience, and love, my dad “came back to himself.” 

One of the things that made a big difference was the intentional creation of joy. My sister’s kids would come and hang out with him. They would make him laugh by dancing, telling jokes, and styling his hair. My dad and I would do crosswords together like we did when I was growing up. He became interested in life again, and the dad I remembered was here again.

Eighteen months later my dad died very quickly from cancer. We were all with him as he transitioned, in his bed, surrounded by love. When I tell you how joyful I am that he came back to himself before he passed away, I don’t have the words to really tell you. 

Joy can be found in moments least expected. Joy can be what heals.

So I invite you to go back inward. Look at your easeful and hard stories. Where do you see those things that bring you joy?