Sometimes I forget how completely lucky I am. The other day while riding the bus downtown with some of our participants, I watched a woman with her two small children. She looked exhausted as she attempted to calm them, reminding them to sit down; I could hear the frustration in her voice at times. As our ride continued, I watched as she became more aware of our participants around her. She watched them say hello to her children. She watched them try to help her calm her crying son by making silly faces and saying “it’s okay, don’t cry”. Then I watched. I watched her body physically relax as she admired our participants. I watched her smile as she witnessed our participants laugh, hug each other, vocally share their excitement and eagerly look out the window at the buildings and people going by. I watched such a beautiful revelation. When our gazes finally met, she said, in the sweetest and most sincere way, “It’s so great they are able to appreciate the ordinary things in life; we all need to do more of that.”
Not everyone reacts this way. I used to get upset when I met people who make it clear that they ‘feel bad’ for the people I support. You can see it in their face and hear it in their voice. Those poor people. But in recent years, I no longer get upset. Instead, I simply ‘feel bad’ for those who feel that way. “Those poor people” are some of my very best friends and teach me to appreciate the small things in life every single day. I am so lucky to have them in my life. I am so lucky to have friends who do not judge other people, who are so strong, despite the challenges they face, who show so much love to others, and who make my heart feel more full then I ever thought possible.
One of my favourite artists, Foy Vance, wrote a song called “Joy of Nothing”. There is something about finding the joy in absolutely nothing. Something we all need to strive to find daily. A special thank you to all our participants for making this so easy for me. I wish everyone was able to experience this kind of joy.