Do What Brings You Joy! Wednesday January 2, 2019
I frequently embarrass my children in church.
Not through any overt religious fervour, but because I sing.
I love to sing, and I love the hymns, but my children nudge me in the ribs, hard. "Don't sing so loudly!" they hiss.
After the service other people from the congregation will say, "Oh, thank you for singing. It's always so nice to hear your beautiful voice." Strangers will approach me and compliment my singing. And that's when it gets embarrassing for me.
You see, I know my singing voice really isn't that great. Not like my sister's.
You see, although my sister and I were both given nice voices at birth, she has really worked on hers. She has taken lessons since her teenage years; she has sought out singing opportunities. She sings with top quality choirs: choirs who make recordings. She's not a professional, but she is a top rate amateur.
I was chatting with her the other day. She sent me for Christmas a CD her choir has made; a recording of funeral hymns. It is a beautiful CD. I would love to sing with a choir of that quality, but I am nowhere good enough. If I were to invest in lessons and practice, then maybe I could be. But there's never enough time.
My sister is very wise sometimes.
"Look at it this way," she said. "We both write, but you are far better at writing than I. Because you work at it. You write every day, just as I sing every day. You have taken the time to learn your craft. You read just so you can write better.
"We both write and we both sing, but the difference between us is that your writing is the thing that gives you most joy in your life. Singing is the thing which gives me most joy. In the end, you have to choose between what is nice to do and what is essential for your soul."
She is right.
The world is full of opportunities and we cannot take advantage of them all.
My friend Richard loves languages. He spends time learning them and speaking them. For Raz, it is his work in Theoretical Physics. He did not work on Christmas Day, but Boxing Day – he was right back to his research. It feeds his soul and gives him joy.
There are many things in the world which are enjoyable, but only a few which give us real joy. Once we have found what brings us that delight, we should do more of it.
Sometimes we need to really think about what it is that is our special thing; what it is that is really important; but once we have found it, then we have direction and focus.
It may not be what we can do for a living, but it can be who we are.
Make 2019, if you are able, your year for doing what brings you most joy.
A Moodscope member.
Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to leave a comment below.