beautiful, gratitude, journey, parenting

Joy…

My fifteen year old daughter, who isn’t really that different from any other fifteen year old girl on the outside, flew down to Jamaica and spent a week with a team of teens and adults working at Caribbean Christian Center for the Deaf. Coming home and readjusting to our privileged way of life (Average American) made her state how selfish she feels she is, and inspired her to embrace a sense of deep gratitude and joy and that we’ve never seen her heart posses. She believes she is changed and we believe today she is. Old habits and patterns have a way of reclaiming even the best of us, but this experience will touch her forever. We’re encouraging her to hold tight. She’s already thinking of ways to raise support because she wants to go back on the next trip.

The one thing that caught her the most unexpected was that she stood, dirty feet planted, on a campus among children of all ages who had little and yet loved with a joy so abundant. They did not squabble, or bicker, they were simply filled with a joy she could not begin to understand. They never felt sorry for their loss of hearing, their struggles, their family lives or any other difficulties, they simply danced and played and lived every single second with a radiant joy. She is astounded, days later, when she still talks it over, trying to make sense. “Everyone…” she says, as though it’s almost unbelievable except for the fact that she experienced it with her own eyes.

She went down there knowing some sign language, she came home knowing more, and knowing what he left with better. She built a confidence in signing to a point that it’s a fluid response we’re seeing. Confidence is also something new to her. I’m feeling challenged in this raw joy she speaks up. We are a spoiled society, and while I try desperately to practice gratitude, I think I forget the key component of Joy. Somewhere along the way I think I believed joy comes from gratitude, which may be so… But don’t I need to marvel in more and allow joy to fill me, simply for the sake of joy? Have I modeled that to her? I don’t think that I have…

I am seeing though, that perhaps I’m even more aware of joy infused opportunities since she came home and I’ll admit, I’m certainly finding some in her stories…

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3 thoughts on “Joy…”

  1. SO happy that He worked in her heart this way.  makes me think of my trips, like to Haiti.  yes, it is way to easy to slip back into what the American culture encourages….it’s a daily fight for me. rita

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