One of the benefits of having four kids, three out of four having had braces,
is that you get to read all the best magazines in the dentist office waiting room.
I read the October 2013 issue of Good Housekeeping pretty much cover to cover,
but the best article was an interview with Michael J. Fox
(Family Ties, Back to the Future, SpinCity ... that Michael J. Fox).
If you aren't aware, he's launching a new television series this fall that gleans
great situational comedy from his real life and his 20 year experience with Parkinson's Disease.
This is a remarkable man ...
and he offers some excellent insight on life and some surprising perspective on joy.
When asked what he wants viewers to take away from his new TV show, he said,
"Whatever your challenge is, everyone else has one, too."
He further explained that he doesn't attach feelings of inferiority to having Parkinson's,
nor does he consider himself damaged, frail or fragile.
He notes that those are other people's perceptions,
but it's clear they have nothing to do with his own feelings about himself.
In talking about his outlook on life, which seems to have always been empowered and optimistic,
he talks about appreciating the good things that happen, and not dwelling on the negatives.
Not allowing yourself to be resentful, he says, makes life really easy, and it creates a lot of space.
What I found to be most delightful were his comments on joy.
"That's really what it comes down to, joy. I said to the writers on the show,
'Whatever you do, write me joy, because I play joy well.'
That's the emotion I'm most at home in.
Not that I can't experience sadness or desire or whatever.
I'm just most at home in joy."
One of the things I've enjoyed a great deal about writing this series about seeking joy in the everyday
is that it's made me feel I had permission to feel joy.
That sounds a little strange ... but my life is full, as I'm sure yours is, too,
and who has time for joy?
But I think Mr. Fox is right ...
Joy is what it comes down to,
and it offers a constant invitation to make yourself at home in it.
Every single day.
“Joy does not simply happen to us.
We have to choose joy
and keep choosing it every day.”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen