It was a short walk. Our building at work is three floors. This past week I was upstairs in the testing center. I had to run some documents down to the second floor. I left my desk, went through the back hallway and down the stairs.
I crossed the second level and passed patients, nurses, and doctors. After delivering papers to our financial guy I returned upstairs.
Not one greeting, smile, or acknowledgement. I made eye contact with patients and other coworkers, tried to engage with people, and found nothing. As I sat down at my desk, the realization hit me.
We are missing joy.
I work at a cardiology office and the irony is not lost. There are many people with sick hearts, young and old, rich and poor. They go through the motions and decide if they have enough reason to keep moving forward.
Society isn’t helping.
We’re facing a higher cost for everything, from healthcare to groceries. We’re patronized from the media and politicians forever out of touch with the people they represent.
So how do we find joy again?
–Friends: Val and I are meeting friends tomorrow night for dinner and a concert in the city. There is value in genuine community. There is value in sharing success and struggle. It is too easy to feel alone. I had a person this week show up way early for an appointment and tell me, “It is better than being with my husband.” Don’t live a life without the release that comes from the shoulder of a friend to lean on.
–Function: I am not where I’m meant to be. You may think that wouldn’t be conducive to joy, but the opposite is true. I work with many people who have settled and don’t have the energy to make a change. They spend their days miserable, trapped in comfort that has robbed them from passion and purpose. It is never too late to move. What is the dream you have? The art you are meant to make? The missions trip that has been on your mind every time you hear about it at church? You have set days on this planet and a designated purpose. Connect the two and you’ll find joy.
–Freedom: There is no such thing as a required pace in this race of life. There is no reason to “Keep Up with the Joneses”. When I first got out of college, I spent two weeks working a sales job and “Keeping Up with the Joneses” was a technique they taught you on day one: always tell people their neighbor/friend/competition just completed a sale with you. It will push your target do throw their money down.
We do the same thing to ourselves all the time. If that person on social media just got a new car, we are angry that we can’t do the same.
It is time to let go of the comparison game and free ourselves from the trappings of stuff.
This weekend, be sure to take some time and experience joy. Laugh, love, and live deeply. You’ll be refreshed and relieved in the end.