You are out running errands, feeling overwhelmed and short on time. You are standing in yet another line that seems to be taking forever, tapping your foot with impatience when you hear it, laughter. Not a quick chortle or a nervous titter but that continuous infectious beautiful laugh that can crack the veneer of even the crankiest among us.
I was having one of those days, my mind swirling with all that I had to get done when this happened to me. The woman’s laugh was so wonderful and she seemed to have such a joyous zest for life that I immediately broke into a smile and was filled with joy, so much so that I caught up to her in the parking lot to tell her how wonderful her laugh was.
On a family trip this past spring my morning run took me around a wide gravel path. As I plodded along a gangly oriental man came loping towards me. In the moments before we passed each other, his face formed into a gigantic smile, his eyes sparkled with energy and pure joy, and he gave a zealous and animated thumb up. I rode that wave of wordless encouragement through the rest of my run and even now, months later, the image of that encounter brings a smile to my face.
I am not one to laugh infectiously in public. Honestly, I don’t think I laugh enough. Likewise, my coordination is such that if I were to try to emulate the man I passed on that gravel path I would likely trip over my own feet, my body and face contouring strangely before I stumbled to the ground. The wonderful thing is we don’t have to emulate these folks to spread joy and encouragement to others. We can do this by simply being who we are on a regular basis. You may not even realize that you are doing this. It is like a hidden superpower we all have.
One of Luke’s classmates wears a trebly to school. As a man who loves hats and who as a boy desperately wanted to wear a fedora but was always afraid what people would say because people said a lot where I grew up, every time I see this boy walking into school I get a flutter of joy because he is being who he is. The same thing was true when Luke insisted on getting a mohawk when he was in preschool. To see others individuality shine brings me great joy
We all have the superpower to bring joy and encouragement to others even when we do not realize we are doing it. If we deploy our barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world, whatever that may sound or look like then we can and will bring joy and encouragement to others. Just as important, when someone brings joy or encouragement to us, as much as we are able we should let that person know for joy begets joy and in that we all win.