2014: The Year of Joy
January 13, 2014
As we begin the new year, I am reflecting back. Over the holiday, I like to ask people (young and old) a simple question: what was your favorite present? This usually transcends individual tradition. Some have a ready answer, some have to think about it, and many feel the need to qualify their answer with why it's not some big, expensive, elaborate gift. I remind them: "I said favorite, not most expensive or impressive!" This elicits responses like: a tablet, a Hello Kitty radio, getting to see my son or grandchild, a toy, or a picture of my daughter's wedding...people stop thinking about the material side and begin to think about what actually brings them joy.
For this upcoming year, that is one of my goals. I want to focus on the joy and finding it wherever I can. I may not have the most money or the best "stuff," but I'm rich in my own way. I encourage you--instead of focusing on all the "stuff" you didn't get--to celebrate all that you did. Sometimes the people around us are the best gift of all.
My nephew, whom I affectionately refer to as my favorite human, is 3-years-old. If you can't enjoy the holiday with a little one around, you are doing it wrong! What did I learn over my break? The entire VeggieTales theme song. "Have we got a show for you!" I could have moaned and groaned about hearing it umpteen times, but the joy on his face was all the present I needed. I would sing it another 100 times if it made him happy. In fact, he got a microphone from Santa, so we may in fact be doing just that!
How can you spread joy to others? If there is anything the holiday season impresses on me every year, it's that a generous spirit inspires others. We see it at the Library almost every day. Strangers offer to pay for each other's fines or walks someone out to their car. They recommend books to one another, and pretty soon, they've made a new friend.
To help you get in the spirit, here is a personal story from last week. We had a customer come in with 60 Teen Bucks from the Summer Reading Program. Her kids are big readers, but they never have fines. It was the last day to use them, and she wanted to pay it forward by having us put them toward any fines we encountered that evening. I am happy to say, we found a way to use every one of her Bucks. Every customer we told the story to was unbelievably grateful, even if their fine was only a few cents. A little act of kindness can go a long way.
So I'm calling 2014 the YEAR OF JOY: pass it on! You won't be sorry you did, and you may be surprised how it comes back around.
South Independence Branch