In April, I had the awesome opportunity of presenting the A-B-Cs of J-O-Y at a luncheon celebrating the positive power of girls and women.
The happy crowd of listeners quickly turned into a group of friends. Each time I said "hello" to someone new, the words were kind and sweet. The energy in the room was warm and bright. Despite the technology hiccups that afternoon, the message of joy was planted and heard on deep levels.
I was especially touched by the extraordinary stories of two women who possessed willingness to use joy in powerful ways. Please meet Sally and Emily, our joy stars for the day.
A few minutes before I started the program, a volunteer approached me about Sally. She mentioned that Sally read the newspaper article about the luncheon and decided to join the fun. You see, Sally had to turn her life around to save herself. Her beloved son took his life. She described her reason for coming to the luncheon as her first act of bravery since his passing. Sally grew tired of tears and looked for joy to lift her up. She wanted to learn new words and find a reason to smile again. Sally took my breath away as she confessed how much courage it took for her to show up. As I listened with as much love as I could muster, the tears rolled down my face. Without hesitation, I decided to dedicate my words and love to Sally and her recovery. Her example of bravery still moves me as I write this blog.
During the break, I met another woman who told me the story of her companion, Emily. She was from East Asia. Back home, Emily was just another orphan. Her options were next to nothing and the abuse that took place was overwhelming. As I observed Emily from afar, she seemed to possess the quiet strength of an old soul. Unfortunately, I don’t know the details of the miracle that brought her to America but I was so grateful she came to the luncheon. Her friend said this was the first time she had attended a speaker program. Her response to the topic was obvious. Her face was glowing, her eyes were alive and her smile stretched far and wide. As I heard Emily’s story and saw her joy, I saw her open heart. At one point, Emily came up to me with outstretched arms and gave me a big hug. I melted in her embrace and exchange of love and happiness.
Life is never simply ordinary, is it? Following months of dotting i’s and crossing t’s, I was overcome with joy for the unexpected gifts of Sally and Emily. Please join me in celebrating these two women who rose above tough circumstances to find and share their joy.