Gift of Joy

We were heading to the mailbox for the regular weekly pickup of flyers and the odd piece of mail.  The back of the vehicle was loaded with the bounty of a grocery run to town and the gas tank was full, ready for another week of life's trips.  We were at the end of a string of errands, ready to head home to enjoy some more life by the swake.  Little did we know that our mailbox was holding a gift of Joy.

Greg began the daunting task of emptying the mailbox while juggling the slippery mound of flyers.  It was the Christmas season and we were experiencing flyer overload spilling from the box.  Every flyer was crammed with subtle lies that if we spent more money we would achieve more Joy.  There were glorious photos of perfect homes with half priced blinds hanging in the windows, and a table laden with turkey dinner surrounded by a happy family.  Your home would look just as perfect if you purchased the half priced blinds.  Your family would enjoy a magazine photo worthy dinner if you bought a free range, hormone free, antibiotic free, organic turkey from that grocery story.  More than three quarters of the mail be picked up that day was advertising a Joy filled life.

We discovered an envelope with a return address we didn't recognize tucked into the pile of advertising.  Real mail was unusual, so we wanted to make the moment last a little longer.  We discussed who we might know who lived or worked at that address, but we were stumped.  I tore open the envelope and pulled out a card covered in colourful exuberant art with the words Creation's Enjoyers written across it. It was a simple two-sided card with the art on the front and a message on the back.  The note was signed by the Administrators at the school where our son works as a junior high teacher.  I have to confess my first thought was good grief, he is thirty years old and I am still getting notes from the Principal.  I thought we were past that!  Believe me we had notes and phone calls from the Principal over the years with that one.  So there was a little deja vu in that moment.

But as I read the note aloud to Greg, I ended up crying tears of Joy and I was an Enjoyer of someone else's gift of Joy.  We knew Matt had grown into a wonderful man and we were already proud of him.  However, as his parents were susceptible to significant bias in our perspective.  That simple card was affirmation that we had done a few things right when we navigated that weird uncharted land called parenthood.  There were three sentences on the handwritten card.  It wasn't a long note but it triggered Joy for us.

We found Joy in receiving a gift of affirmation from Vicki and Krista.  We were encouraged to know they had spread similar Joy to other families of their staff.  We enjoyed the unsolicited surprise of being told in ink on paper that our son's work made a difference.  Amidst that we took Joy in the knowledge that we had contributed to shaping the character of a strong-willed little boy into a teacher who was a blessing to those he worked with and taught. There were many others who had their hand in raising our boy.  There were aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends, and now there were other Creation Enjoyers - colleagues who shared Joy freely, who Enjoyed those who worked with and for them, and who were willingly to create more Joy through their Enjoyment.

Dear Krista & Vicki,
Thank you for creating Joy in our day with your thoughtfulness.  Thank you for teaching children everyday the wonder of Enjoying the creation God has made for us.  Thank you putting into practice your commitment to being a Creation Enjoyer.  Thank you for reminding us to share the gift of Joy at Christmas and throughout the year.
Merry Christmas!
Greg & Joy

Merry Christmas to all from the swake!