One element of the diaconate experience at my church is the "triad" system. Every deacon is assigned to a group of three (ahem, "triad") consisting of a first year, second year, and third year. At the beginning of every meeting, you get with your triad for about 15 minutes and talk. You share joys with each other and also struggles/prayer requests.
At our retreat this past weekend, we grouped up with our triad and were told to share a current joy with them. A current joy. So it seemed to be aiming for something more specific than, "I'm joyful for my family."
The third year in my group wasn't there, so the director of children's ministry at our church was grouped up with us. She went first and shared that she got to play the harp a lot over the holidays and at one point played at a nursing home in town and her 24 year old son sang while she played. Joyful on many accounts, right? She loves to play the instrument and doesn't often get the chance; her son (at an age where he could definitely be too cool for school to even go to the nursing home) wanted to attend and sing; she got to do something good in the community; etc.
When it was my turn....I totally clammed up. I searched my brain and could not think of one thing, of late, that brought me joy. Of course there are the obvious: my family (including the cutest baby boy alive), my friends, my dog, the fact that we live so much better than so many other people in the World, (and on and on and on), but there wasn't one pointed, specific thing I could think of to share.
I later reflected a lot on this. Am I depressed? (Answer: I don't think so.) Is something else wrong with me? Am I mentally bogged down in some way that is clouding my vision and taking away my ability to see how good my life is? Am I too wrapped up in my day-to-day motions that I'm failing to notice how joyful my life is?
Whatever the reason, I want to fix it. I want to intentionally seek out small joys in my life. I want to be able to recognize something insignificant (a 70 degree day in January, for example) and allow it to bring me joy.
So - I am creating The Joy Project. Everyday I'm going to reflect on something (big or small) that brings me joy on that day. I think the best way to log it might be to have a blog post draft in my queue that I can update every day of the week and then publish on Sunday. (At least I'm going to try it that way for a week or so and see if it works.)
If you have a blog, I invite you to join along! Let's all be joyful together. Because seriously, times are tough and life is difficult out there. I'll take any extra happiness I can find!