Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Living with Impulsive Joy

As we move into the new year we look back on all the things we hoped to accomplish during the past year. There just wasn't enough time for everything. Now the new year stares us in the face, and we have even more detailed schedules to follow and plans to fulfill. With so many planned activities pressuring us for our time, the impulsive joy of living usually falls by the wayside.

In my grandmother's day, her circle was small enough to allow her to implement into action most any impulse from her heart. Her friends were few, and she usually had time to offer tokens of concern. She'd bake a cake for the old man down the road, or she kept the children of a friend who was sick. My mother had problems keeping up with all of her impulses of loving and giving and creating. In one generation, her world expanded to include not only the neighbors, but friends in other states and countries.

Now, in our generation, life has become so large that we often feel overwhelmed with our impulses. We want to do too many things. There's the new family down the street we'd like to invite to dinner. And there's the friend to share an idea with, perhaps over lunch. Even emails don't get sent because of the time-squeeze. The nursing home needs volunteers, and the family with the new baby would appreciate a brought-in dinner. We know so many people that we enjoy that we hate to miss an opportunity to visit with them. Sometimes we feel that we might drown in a sea of friendship and opportunities to serve.

Yet in a new year of structured activities we must now lose the joy of impulsive sharing with others. The impulse of the moment gives the sharing even more meaning.

The year lies ahead of us. We can turn it into a year of impulsive joy. Joy is a by-product of working toward the joy of someone else.