What an interesting topic to write on as by reflex I can tell you all the things that cause me stress and disappointment. It is challenging because it exposes my true spirit of pessimism; joy is secondary. There are many things that bring me joy. Besides making my husband and children happy, I enjoy helping the less fortunate. I have always had a generous spirit since I was young. Giving away my clothes and any little trinket given to me. I had to learn as a newlywed not to eventually give away things my husband would buy me. I know, it is a bad habit but it took a good friend having a good talk with me before I understood the connection. I just loved giving people things that they always wanted. If I had it and they wanted it, I would give it. I remember even giving away my toys when I was very young.
A life changing event happened to me that made me even more generous towards people. I had the experience of being so poor I might as well lived in a developing country. My mother moved from the West Indies to a poor neighborhood in New York. In those days it was okay to leave your children by themselves while you went out to work. I took care of my brother while my mother went to work, took courses for citizenship and attended classes towards a degree. I raised myself and my younger brother. That was pretty much my life as a teenager until my step father came along. The only thing he did was provide an income to pay the rent. My mother was strong and brave as she could not bare to have him in the house much longer and kicked him out. That’s when it happened. We starved. For one whole year while my mother was working in a lower than low position, my brother and I discovered new creations in an empty fridge. We ate crackers and mayonnaise or pineapple jelly with crackers and sugar water as we had no lemons. We were joking about it the other day and how happy we were when on rare occasions we would be able to have hospital made spaghetti and meatballs as my mom
worked in the kitchen at the local hospital. Weekends were the hardest as we had no school lunch.
After that stage I became a teenager and my mother now a college graduate helped me to go through school as well as my brother. She now has a Masters and it motivated me to get my Masters also. (Funny I just remembered how my peers in college and roommates used to joke that they could look in the fridge and find nothing to cook, but I would go in the fridge and bring out a tasty four course meal). I looked back at my life and became more spiritual as I realized I did not get through so many hard life experiences by my own doing. Then, out of nowhere, this great opportunity to go abroad and help others in a developing country had arise. I was on the next plain as I felt I could relate, although I understood the gravity of the situation would be worse than any of my experiences. There was eight people sent by a reputable organization and I went as the only Mental Health Consultant. I spent two years serving the poor.
Today, I still find philanthropic means for helping the less fortunate. The opportunity abroad bought me the most joy. My mother’s perseverance brought me much joy. My brother being a World Trade Center survivor brought me much joy. Becoming a wife and a parent brings me joy as my husband is also generous and I am hands on with my boys. As a parent it makes me happy to instill in them the importance of things learned from my past; a good education, spirituality, an altruistic view on life and lots of kisses. They could do without the kisses I bet, but I can’t. I couldn’t pick just one thing that brings me joy, as joy for me has no time constraints.
P.S. Things are settling in in Denver I hope to get back to regular writing next week...sorry it's taken so long but it's been crazy...hugs & look forward to reconnecting with all of you next week....if you want to be a guest writing contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org