As little girl I was an expert at creating joy. I didn’t have an idyllic childhood but if a stranger had seen me they would have thought I did. https://www.theshatteredvase.com/index.php/2020/09/01/bearing-a-grudge/
Most mornings i would wake up full of joy. The joy of the Lord was definitely my strength. Although I do credit God with my intrinsic spirit of joy, I believe I helped maintain the joy.The atmosphere in our home was not one that leant itself to joy, so I started creating joy.
KEEPING BUSY WAS A KEY TO MY JOY
I was always busy doing something. In the wintertime I would play Sunday School in the living room of our farmhouse. I would line up all my dolls on the couch and teach them about Jesus. If I wasn’t doing that I was playing like I was a catalog clerk downstairs, using an old adding machine to figure out the purchase amount.
My mother was a fantastic cook, because of this, I decided to design a restaurant downstairs also. I named it, made a menu and had friends and cousins over to play in my restaurant, Kozy Korner. I didn’t actually cook food in the basement, that is where imagination took over for me and my friends.
During the summertime I played out in the garage where my Daddy had sectioned off a part of the garage as a playhouse. He even made me a fake stove! There were days I made mud pies. Other days I would go to the creek where my Mom grew up and we would pick mulberries. In the spring, my aunt and uncle would invite my brother and I over to see the baby chicks on their farm.
CREATING JOY WAS A NECESSITY
Before I was born, my parents had a bit of difficulty in their marriage. My mother took this really hard. She cried a lot when I was a little girl, I couldn’t understand why she cried so much. I would go up to her and say, “Why are you crying Mommy? I love you!”
She has told me many times that without me she may not have survived that period of hardship in her life. In addition to that, she has said that my Dad may not have stayed in the marriage if I hadn’t been born. I adored my Daddy as a little girl, so he too, had my love.
Sometimes I think I sensed as a child that the atmosphere was oppressive and depression was a constant threat. As a result, my natural defense to this was unbridled joy.
CREATING JOY TAKES DIFFERENT PATHWAYS
My sister has shared with me some of her experiences from childhood. She was the oldest and my mother relied on her a lot to help with housework because she had had a nervous breakdown. My sister was always trying to be a “perfect” child. It was an impossible challenge in our home. We could never do enough to please our parents.
As a little girl she loved school but dreaded going home and she told herself she just had to be happy. She tried very hard to be happy. She was very popular in school but struggled at home to maintain a positive attitude. She is a very calm and peaceful presence in any situation. I believe that may be because her goal as a young child was to pursue happiness.
I adored my older sister when I was little. I remain very thankful for her. She is close to seventy years old and has always been a great role model for me to look up to.
CREATING JOY, AS A CHILD, IS LINKED TO PLAY
Maybe I had more intrinsic joy than my sister did because I did not have to work as hard as she did when I was little. I was quite the entrepreneur as a little girl. I ran a restaurant, a catalog store, maintained a playhouse and taught Sunday school. So I did do a lot but it was what I chose to do.
My sister worked very hard for my mother, she is still a very hard worker and competent in so many arenas. I figured out early on that there was no pleasing my mother, so I didn’t make that a goal. I made creating joy a goal. Sometimes I think my pathway as a child was not one that served me well as an adult. I think that I struggle on a daily basis with some issues because I was not taught consistent discipline, as a child, like my sister was.
Are there memories of childhood or times in your life which bring a spirit of you back to you?Sometimes it could be a hobby, pursuit of a dream or a project which you enjoy. In the COVID crisis I would like to challenge you to discover the lost art of creating joy.
Tell me in the comments what you do which creates joy in your life.