Sometimes in life you get to do something for someone else that causes their entire world to change. That happened for me recently, a not so small decision was required from me, that allowed at least two lives to be forever changed.
We found a dog for my son this past Saturday and everything in both their worlds is now better. The dog is happy and content to sleep on whatever lap he can find. You can see the gratitude in his little face as he sleeps contentedly on his back, nestled into my son’s chest while he attends online school.
What has happened for my son is ever greater. I never realized how much purpose his life lacked until now. How much he needed and wanted something or someone to be responsible for. How much he needed someone else to live for other than himself. He and Louie just came into my bedroom at 4:54 am. I was not thrilled as I crave and cherish my alone time in the morning. Apparently Louie needed to go out and to get a drink so Logan was taking care of him. Logan wasn’t irritated or upset, just attending to his fare like that of a concerned parent.
Now they are both back to bed, needs attended to, pee taken, drink had.
But they left me with something also...
Spontaneous joy for them both. A happiness that is born of others getting what they want and need. I surely derive some happiness from our furry new addition, but really my joy comes from watching their joy. I, more of a joy bystander. The love and joy just washes over me because I stand in close proximity to the love fest that is occurring daily on my couch.
My daughter loves Louie too and I think, though she might deny it, she is happy also that her brother is happy. And of course, everyone is happy that Louie is no longer homeless.
I think that spontaneous joy happens when the bottomline benefit belongs to someone else. It isn’t that you don’t get something from the interaction, but that the interaction occurs and happens outside of your sphere of influence. The joy is manufactured perhaps more because of your sacrifice and less because of your own merit.
In this case, I rose to the occasion of seeing something that my son needed desperately. And, if I am honest, had a hard time getting out of my own way. I did not want another dog. I do not want any more pets and yet, my house keeps on filling up with them anyway. A stray cat there, a new fish over here. It happens in spite of me and I seem powerless to stop the influx. And all of the pet coming and going makes me happy and occasionally stressed out. And this is why I did not want another dog.
But when you hear the honest pleas of a child in need, who could be so callous as to say no? Not me, I love him too much and see how limited his life is and feels. There was only one answer, even if I wasn’t thrilled about it.
The joy comes, I think, from moving myself out of my own way. Just pushing myself aside but not with a dismissive hand that wholly abandons one’s own needs, but instead one that sees that though there exists competing needs, the needs of the other are just more important...
Spontaneous joy, I think, is available when we move around and through ourselves in an effort to ensure that something greater than our own selfish ends are the goal. A true and earnest desire to provide something needed to one who is not capable of similarly providing that same thing for themselves. That is a gift of spirit. And, as my life progresses, those are the really the only gifts that truly matter.
Since the high so great, I am looking for more ways to find the joy...I am an addict after all and seeking pleasure is kind of my thing. Even though I learned a long time ago that seeking pleasure and avoiding pain just keeps me stuck in a perpetual loop. I think a sincere desire to help others find joy be the basis for my own joy is the right kind of seeking. And as a beautiful soul I know says, “Don’t let anyone steal your joy...not even your own self.”