A little girl I never met is making me a better person.
She’s doing this through my best friend, who always inspires me to be a better person.
My friend is someone who knows how to be happy. It’s as natural to her as loving and serving and Science and being. She is deep in the way that is not always obvious because she doesn’t dwell in that space of shadows and monsters.
She doesn’t pretend the bad parts of life aren’t there, though. And that’s the thing. While the rest of us stand around arguing about who started what and who deserves the blame, this woman rolls up her sleeves and says, “What can I do to help?”
She’s a realist and an optimist. Which, I’m gonna tell you right now, is my favorite kind of person and everything I aspire to be.
So when she has something to say, I listen. Well, I do now anyway. When we were fifteen, I never listened to her even though she was always right. She’s patient with me though.
And as my friend celebrates the life and legacy of a young lady she knew, one who fought the bravest battle for most of her life, she shared with me this message in that young girl’s honor.
Yes. Seek. Go find it. Don’t wait for it to show up.
But that’s hard, you say.
I know. Seek joy anyway.
Well, that’s probably easy for you to say…
Shhh. Don’t do that. Not here.
We attach so much fear and pain to joy. We resent people who seem to find it with minimal effort. We think they’re not paying attention to how insane the world around us is. We turn it into this thing we can’t metabolize because the thought that it can be taken away hurts too much. We haven’t earned it. We’re afraid. No, we’re terrified. Absolutely terrified. We’re exhausted. We have a million things to do and a million and one things we’re trying to be. Too much is out of our control.
Believe me, I know.
But I want to seek joy anyway.
Stubbornly. Aggressively even.
When people say, “You’re a fool. Life is hard.” I’ll say, “I know. That’s alright.”
Pain won’t spare me either way. So I choose beauty. I choose joy.
In every cobwebbed corner of every dark room of my life, I want to light a candle so that the shadows become part of the ambiance. I want to acknowledge that the darkness is there. I’m not stupid. But so is all this beauty.
And I don’t have to sacrifice one for the other.
And neither do you.
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