“Because I’m happy…”

“Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth.” Happy, Pharrell 2013

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Pharrell’s “Happy” song was the one my daughter chose for my entrance and introduction at her wedding reception. She knew how much I loved that song! So appropriate as that was one of the happiest days for me. What a beautiful wedding with happiness flowing more than the wine! Such a joyful occasion.

My girls and me… What a beautiful wedding!

Is there a difference between happiness and joy? Recently, two different friends mentioned to me that they wanted more joy in their lives. Not happiness, but joy. Both are SOLO, through different circumstances. Started me thinking that I too would like to find more joy. I am relatively happy, enjoy a lot of things, and have fun. So what is the difference between happiness and joy? One thought is that happiness is external, and joy is internal. The dictionary defines happiness as “a state of well-being and contentment: joy” and joy as “a state of happiness”. Interchangeable? Not necessarily, in my opinion. I think of joy as something deeper that you experience, while happiness is something you feel. I also think happiness is easier to attain.

“The fact is always obvious much too late, but the most singular difference between happiness and joy is that happiness is a solid and joy a liquid.” J.D. Salinger, the author of Catcher in the Rye

Last week, our fitness club volunteered to provide dinner for the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House here in Charlottesville. When the email went out looking for volunteers to help, so many teammates replied that we split up into separate teams and multiple nights. My team was lead by a true Italian Chef who had owned a local, well-known Italian restaurant, before retiring and coming to work with us in fitness. So needless to say, his fresh from scratch baked ziti was delicious. It was fun working together while having Italian Cooking Class 101. But there was such joy in providing this meal to these families who are suffering. Their babies and children are hospitalized. Some have been there a couple of days, some several months. Every one of them was so appreciative to have a home cooked meal. They thanked us profusely. One of my teammates mentioned to me what joy it gave her to help these families. I agree.

What a wonderful organization the Ronald McDonald House is, providing housing for families whose children are in the hospital nearby. They come back to the Ronald McDonald house in the evening knowing there will be a meal for them. And if they are late, they can find dinner in “take out” boxes in the communal refrigerator. They can also “grab and go”, taking it back to the hospital. Families have private rooms, most with a private bath. The sad thing? Most of the time there is a waitlist for rooms. One family told us how fortunate they were that the day their baby was born prematurely and flown to UVA’s Children’s Hospital, a room opened up for them. They had been there for 3 weeks. There was a young boy staying there with his mom while he was undergoing treatments. The kitchen was large, nice, and very clean with 4 stoves, 4 ovens, 4 dishwashers, and 5 large refrigerators. The communal fridge is stocked with the basics such as milk, yogurts, waters, and leftovers in to-go boxes. The other 4 are reserved by shelf for the families. The kitchen is stocked with plates, glasses, coffee cups, silverware, and condiments. But they can always use more. Our clubs collected donations from our members and team members for everyday items – cleaning supplies, paper towels, mustard, ketchup, you name it. They need everything.

“Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a great deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.” Eleanor Roosevelt

Years ago, the son of a dear friend was being treated at UVA Hospital. This friend witnessed so many struggling families trying to cope and support their children while being hours away from their homes, work, and other family members. Because of this, she suggested the Ronald McDonald House as the benefactor of the annual neighborhood ladies Christmas party my neighbor and I hosted each year. The amount of supplies we received from our guests was unimaginable! Had to put all the seats down in my car to transport them. The last thing a family with a child in the hospital needs to worry about is where they are going to stay and what they are going to eat, so if you are looking for a good charity to support, consider the Ronald McDonald House.

Recognize this sweater from my “25 Days of Christmas Sweaters”?!?

“If you carry joy in your heart, you can heal any moment.”  Carlos Santana

I have been very happy lately. Spent time with my kids. Dinner with a dear friend. Volunteered at Ronald McDonald House. Met some friends at King Family Vineyard. Played BUNCO with a fun group of girls and got to wear the crown! And many more fun plans are coming up. Who could ask for more?!?!

“My mission: to be so busy loving my life that I have no time for hate, regret, worry, fret, or fear.”

When you find yourself having a pity party, which I have hosted for myself at times (especially when I found myself SOLO), stop and think of all the blessings in your life. What brings you joy? Do something for someone else – that is guaranteed to bring you joy and you may realize you are happier than you think. Life is too precious to waste your time dwelling on the negatives because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

Best,

Leslie

2 thoughts on ““Because I’m happy…””

  1. Joy can truly be understood after you experience despair. You are a bright light in the darkness we sometimes feel. Thank you for helping at Ronald McDonald. Such an important place for
    Uva Children’s Hospital. Keep shining your light!

    Liked by 1 person

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