It strikes me as ironic that what I sometimes think makes me happy, is not what truly makes me happy.
Like most, I find that a new special purchase, or a novel experience, is exciting. Like most, I sometimes equate excitement with happiness. However, they are two different things. I may have fun playing around with a new camera, but it is hardly the key to my happiness.
I am happy when I engage in activities that stimulate my core interests, like being creative. However, last Thursday brought me an equally potent dose of happiness. That happiness arrived via small connections.
These types of connections are often short, unplanned, and random. Last Thursday was filled with them, and they carried me on a happiness high for several days.
If you have been reading my blog you know that I’m an introvert. I’m very happy in solitude, I like being in my head. I am definitely not a person who needs to have 100 “best friends.” With that said, I do need some connections, and the connections that I make tend to be deep and long lasting. I invest myself into those connections, but until recently I have been much more comfortable giving, rather than receiving. Dear reader, it is with this backdrop that Thursday happened.
You may be wondering if Thursday was a special day. It was just a workday. A typical workday seeing over twenty patients. My work was not what made Thursday special.
Let me take you to the start of my day. I was up at 3:50 AM. As I had a few minutes before I would need to leave I was sitting in my study mindlessly looking at Facebook. At around 4:30 AM there was a light knock on my window. It was my friend Tom, holding up two cups of Dunkin Donuts coffee. He told me that he woke up early and so he decided to surprise me. I invited him in for a few minutes to chat and we then drove off to meet again at the healthclub. It felt good.
I returned home to find my wife, Julie, at the kitchen table reading the newspaper. She put down the paper and we were able to chat a bit about the week ahead and a possible summer vacation. It felt good.
After my workday I contacted my nephew Themi. He is a physical therapist and I wanted his opinion on a shoulder injury that I sustained in September. He was gracious and helpful. He said that he wanted to see me in person to evaluate me. We were to meet the following Saturday at my sister Carol’s house, which was midway between our respective homes. It felt good.
I called sister Carol to secure the date. She was the person who suggested that I contact Themi in the first place. She was more than happy to accommodate my request. It felt good.
On Thursdays Julie works late and I make dinner with my two youngest kids. We are getting good at our tasks, and it was clear that we were having a lot of fun making Bisquick oven-fried chicken, Pillsbury crescent rolls, fresh broccoli and a tossed green salad. As we were eating our creation Gracie commented that making dinner together was one of her favorite parts of the day. It felt good.
Later that night I talked to my oldest daughter Anne on the phone. She was excited because she was coming up for my birthday weekend. She knows that I love to walk, and she specifically said she wanted to go on a walk with me. It felt good.
I went to bed that night with a light, almost giddy, feeling of happiness. I love all of these people and on that Thursday, they showed me that they loved me. It has always been hard for me to accept the kindness of others, but I am getting better at it. I am actively working on accepting love and concern from the people around me. I know that their actions not only benefit me, but they also benefit them.
How greatful I am to have people in my life that I truly care about. How thankful I am that I can now accept their love and concern for me. Most days are not like last Thursday, but getting one once in awhile makes them all the sweeter.
Today my goal is to freely love the special people in my life, and allow them to love me in return.