Looking for Joy

This post is part of a group of posts from teachers around the country who are celebrating our weeks by sharing them in these posts. Click on the image above to see what others are celebrating this week.

This post is part of a group of posts from teachers around the country who are celebrating our weeks by sharing them in these posts. Click on the image above to see what others are celebrating this week.

The kid is up.

And what I love about this is that he wants everyone to know he’s up.

So he’s whistling.

Some days this makes me want to climb the walls – when he’s been whistling for hours at a time, my patience for it can run kind of thin – but this morning it made me stop.

He was whistling “Joy to the World.”

On repeat.

I cannot tell you how much I needed this right now.

I generally get up between 4:30 and 5:00 every day – many days to make sure the Nerdy Book Club is up and running with the latest post, but sometimes just to read or grade or see what happened in the world while I was sleeping.

Today I did all those things and I was planning to make some coffee and settled in to finish my book when I read some heartbreaking and unexpected news in my messages. I blinked and blinked as I read it and typed back and forth with my friend who had just learned of her mother’s passing – grateful that I was awake and available on the computer for her to talk to.

All that kept echoing in my head is that tomorrow is never promised.

That thought has been rattling around since Jacqueline Woodson said it on Thursday night when I heard her speak at Penn State Harrisburg.

I was crying then when she said it, too, after she read Each Kindness.

Tomorrow is never promised.

We live our lives and try not to think about our mortality or that of others. We get in routines and ruts and fail to recognize how blessed we are to have each day anew.

We get frustrated easily. We fixate on our to-do lists.

I work hard to focus on things that bring me joy in life. The silhouette of the rooster on a mailbox and the trees in the background against the bright morning sky on my way to work. The happiness of the Weasleys are when I pick up the fish food container. The doggy wiggle that Piper does when I come home — and the giggles that it causes in my son. The books that I can’t seem to turn pages fast enough on this week. The warmth and taste of my coffee on this beautiful fall day. The kiss I got from my husband as he headed out the door this morning when I called him back. The sounds of my friends’ voices. The students who have already been able to tell me that I helped them find The Best Book Ever.

And today, instead of telling him to please stop whistling, I stopped to listen to my son.

And I realized what he was whistling.

And I chose to listen.

This moment won’t happen again.

It is not guaranteed tomorrow. Nothing is.

I will find joy in the moments I am blessed to have.

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14 thoughts on “Looking for Joy

  1. I’m sorry for your friend, Cindy. You’re right, ‘tomorrow is never promised’. On my blog header, ‘every morning is an entrance to a city’-keeps me looking for those special moments, like your son whistling. I suspect he recently learned he could? Thanks for sharing what you see and appreciate, makes me look a little longer!

    • I wish he had only just recently learned to whistle – but I think he figured it out in the spring. He comes from a long line of people who just whistle – sometimes without realizing they are. Sometimes it is more than I can take when he and my dad get together and are whistling – usually two different songs!

    • Those hours of being alone in the dark wishing that the news was a horrible nightmare are some of the worst times I’ve ever had in my life. I was her age when I had to say goodbye too soon to my brother. I’m glad I could be there to talk to also.

  2. I’m always envious of whistlers since it’s a skill I never acquired. Sad to hear of your friend’s loss, but glad you were able to be there for her. “I will find joy in the moments I am blessed to have.” I love those words. They keep me coming back every Saturday to celebrate with my friends.

    • Full disclosure: I’m sometimes the annoying whistler at my house. He just joined me to read on the deck and he’s still whistling his variation on Joy to the World.

  3. I am crying here too. Tomorrow is never promised. How true and what a wonderful reminder to be aware of the joys we have around us. Thank you for sharing this Cindy.

    • *passes tissues* I admit to getting frustrated later in the day (I’m human), but I found myself closing my eyes and taking a breath before I moved on rather than getting bent out of shape by the little things (and aren’t most of the things that irritate us and frustrate us little things?) that bugged me during the day.

  4. Cindy, what a beautiful reminder to us that tomorrow is never promised so we must find the joys in each today. Your day was spent listening to your son and comforting a friend-sacred time to reflect on what you have as your blessings. If you are interested in finding the beauty of each autumn day, please join me and other REFLECT WITH ME writers as I create a golden tapestry of thoughts this autumn (http://beyondliteracylink.blogspot.com/2014/09/falling-into-place-as-season-turns.html).

    • On a much smaller scale, I know this to be true also as a teacher — and we never know the full impact of our words. Thank you so much for putting your words out into the world – and for coming to speak this week.

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