Monday, May 25, 2009

Living joyfully

Today, as I was going through some drawers in my room, I came across my "warm & fuzzies" drawer. It's a drawer that I have filled with letters, notes and other sweetnesses from friends and family. If you know me, you know I  love warm & fuzzies. I think they are essential to life. People should always have the opportunity to know how you feel about them, how much they mean to you, their impact on you life. And, you should be able to share this with them whenever possible. Life is too short to put love on hold. Everyone needs warm & fuzzies from time to time. 

When I was at Dartmouth College, I participated every year in a retreat called Vox Christi. I loved it. It was a weekend of reflection, renewal, friendship, faith, and love. At the start of the retreat, we selected "Prayer Partners" out of a hat. You would get the name of someone else on the retreat and send them messages in these little "mailboxes" we made for everyone and you would pray specifically for this person throughout the weekend. Your Prayer Partner identities were kept secret until you revealed yourself to your Prayer Partner in your last letter. I found my Prayer Partner's letter from my Junior year Vox Christi retreat and I  simply have to share it here because of the joy it brought me. I want to share that joy with you now.

I have spent the last year or so, in a bit of a rut, wondering what my purpose is or if I even have one and worrying that I'm missing the point to my life. Whatever that point is. I've been feeling a little lost, to be honest. It's not all of the time and I am working on it, seeing a therapist, talking it out, but it hasn't been easy. It's not easy feeling lost. And, today, out of nowhere, I found a little light and it made me smile. Here's my sunshine for this late hour:

Dear Olivia,

I kind of cheated when we had to pick prayer buddies. I accidentally saw your name face up and I took it because I thought to myself "That's someone I'd really like to get to know better. " I've seen you around AQ [The Catholic Student Center at Dartmouth] and you happy, I mean your  genuinely happy nature intrigued me. I am not myself a very happy person, especially outwardly. But I am not depressed, I just don't feel joyful very easily or often. I truly admire that quality in you and I envy the ease with which you can bring joy to others. Though I hardly know you, I can honestly say that being in a room with you makes me happier than I  was before. I've been extraordinarily fortunate in life, but I don't feel the same joy you exude and I hope you can only teach me your secret. 

I've prayed for you these last two days, that you are successful in all your endeavors, that you and your loved ones are and remain healthy. But most of all, I've prayed that you never stop living life the way that you do now because of the effect it has on others and the effect it has had on me. 


I am  extremely humbled by these words. And I feel so incredibly undeserving of them. I thank the writer for them now because they have brought so much joy to me today. And, I make a promise to live my life joyfully every day. I think that may be just what I have been searching for these last months: pure Joy. Thank you so much for reminding me. Thank you for sending me so much sunshine. Without knowing it, you've done so much. 

This is what I mean about the importance of warm & fuzzies; what you think may be nothing at all, may be everything to someone else. Don't ever stop spreading the Love. And the Joy.

1 comment:

Kristen said...

This post made me smile so big on the inside! I know exactly that feeling you felt when you read that letter for the first time. At my camp (PACAA - it's a YMCA camp) I have experienced very similar things (minus the religious component). We have Secret Buddies throughout the week, and also there's just a general sense of spreading love and joy (something I love to do!) I have a "PACAA Box" that sounds a lot like your "Warm Fuzzy Drawer" :-) I love going back and reading through letters, notes, etc. and feeling good all over again. I may have to share some on my blog, now that you have me thinking about it!!

And you're right - it's not easy feeling lost...not one bit. But, sometimes, for me, well, I'm reminded of a quote from OTH (bear with me ;-) Lucas narrates this quote at one point (maybe season 2 or 3), and I just replaced all the "lonely"s with "lost"s --

"When so many are lost, as seem to be lost, it would be inexcusably selfish to be lost alone..."

Sometimes just the feeling of knowing that many, many other people feel lost or aren't sure of their purpose, makes me feel more at ease with the fact that I have no idea why I am here, when I will feel happier, why things happen, etc. It's almost comforting.

:) You're amazing!