Joy to Your World —thoughts from a fellow journeyman
The movie, “The Bucket List”, had many wisdoms; as you might recall, there was a segment referring to the meaning of life…and joy. The value of life is based on two questions:
….did we find joy in our life
…did we bring joy to others?
This movie made a real impression on me, (and undoubtedly many others).
Be Mindful for Unexpected Joy
Having been on the “senior circuit” for over 20 years, I give programs on my photography of ghost towns, steam boats and steam trains. However, for certain audiences, I am often asked just to sing! In this recent performance, a dignified resident of this facility got up and began to dance after about 30 minutes…and dance she did. She danced at every table; she danced slow….she danced fast…not out of desperation or imposition, but out of sheer joy! Although her speech was somewhat limited and faltering, she approached me within about a foot and managed to utter “Let Me Call You Sweetheart”! (Assuming it was a song request, I complied and did my best for her.) She was a perfect example of unabashed, sheer joy; especially when I was later informed that she is 100 years young! (A poster child for graceful aging if ever I saw one!)
About a year ago, I was asked by my church to sing for a senior suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. (As a Stephen Minister, I am asked to minister at times for those suffering grief and loss. I often bring my guitar and sing.) This gentleman did not always remember the name of his wife, who was his primary caregiver. He could not speak and consequently, he had a very empty existence with his condition at the time. They both lived in their own home with no other caregivers. His wife did all she could to provide support, food and comfort but was clearly suffering herself from the caregiving burden. Soon after my beginning to play, he began to sing with me! (I was aware of the therapeutic benefit of listening to and actually singing songs. As a matter of fact, experience has shown that certain patients with Parkinson ’s disease often respond well when they actually SING songs; rather than merely listening to recorded or live performances. Tremors often stop when patients sing!) What started as a brief performance, lasted 45 minutes! During my final number, (True Love originally performed by Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly. This was my mom’s favorite song), he looked over to his wife and winked at her!! This priceless and timeless moment was never caught on film, phone or tape, but will forever be etched in my memory! I am unsure whether his wife even saw his tender act of timeless love, but he knew that I saw it. Although he might not have remembered her name, he knew she was important to him and that he loved her. After the song, I left in silence, since that was his comfort and familiarity. I have not heard from him since that visit.
In closing, (not conclusion), be mindful of opportunities to savor joy in your life…and the chance to bring joy to others that you might encounter along your personal journey. As I often say in my workshops—be relevant, make a difference!