Tiny Bits of Joy
Original post day 06/14/2020
Times are hard for folks right now. Many people are out of work, have lost loved ones, a lot of people are struggling to get by. We’re working from home, having to learn how to become teachers, health experts and chefs. For me personally one of the hardest parts, as I consider my own mortality and the limited amount of time we have in this life, is that it feels like my life and all of its plans are completely on pause. I’m healthy, I’ve had sick family members but no one has died, I have stable and good employment, I’m more well off than many others and thankful for that. But I’m human, and as human beings we cry most for what WE don’t have, what WE can’t do. It’s a natural reaction, and I feel that emotion welling up in me and I do my best to keep it at bay. You have to forgive yourself for the selfish thoughts you have, at least as long you do your best not to act on all of them.
Tonight, I want to talk about the tiny bits of joy in my life. I’d love to include pictures but blasting images of my little people all over the internet doesn’t seem like the most prudent thing to do and they’re too young to give informed consent. So no images, but a few notes about the tiny joys I get to interact with.
First, a message I got yesterday.
Uncle Mike, it’s Renee, can I call you, I have to tell you something/ Wait, not Renee, it’s Rooney, I typed the wrong name.
This led to a video call and a story of how my eight year-old niece encountered a black bear in her back yard. Her sprint home, the bravery of her one dog who took after the bear, and the pure lack of concern of their other dog. It was a cute story, she was clearly both excited and a little bit shook. My suggestion that she should camp out in the yard didn’t go over well.
Recently I got a text from one of the faculty I work with, I’ve become friends with her five year-old daughter. I call her Tiny Dean. The reason for this is that on my first day of work she marched right up to me in my office and asked, “who are you?” When I responded that I was the new dean she said, “no you’re not, I am.” So I immediately requested a raise that she was happy to grant, when I pushed my luck and asked for extra vacation, she fired me. So her mom on a couple of occasions now has found Tiny Dean playing work. While playing work she’s often on phone calls with Dean Kane, and most recently, dressed like her mom and wearing her mom’s glasses, she was pretending to Zoom with me. Her mom sent me a video she took of the pretend Zoom call and sent it to me. It was beyond adorable and absolutely made my day. The best part was when she was explaining the pro-biotic nature of the email, you have to love kid logic.
I have three tiny joys all in the same house, my brother and his wife have three children, 6,4 and about to be 1. My Zoom calls with them are absolutely joyous occasions. My littlest nephew was pretend punching me on the last call and cracking himself up. He and his older brother usually appear on the calls in full custom with lots of props to show off. My littlest niece blew me kisses on the last call, not sure it gets much better than that. But I want to relate something the 6 year-old said on the that call.
He had just finished saying something about cleaning up his room or something, so I suggested that he come over to my house to clean next. He cheerfully agreed and you need to understand he has great belief in his intelligence, which he has informed me is why when he grows up he’ll be smarter than everyone. He also thinks I’m a bit mentally slow. So after my sister and mother asked about cleaning their houses as well, he said the following:
When I grow up I’m going to make a machine so that I can copy myself, and then I can come over and clean everyone’s house.
I was happy to hear the confidence and even more so the absolute kindness of the sentiment. And that’s what I want to convey tonight my friends, we can all be that kind. In our thoughts and in our actions, and in that we can bring joy to others. Sure, I could list out little ways you could help others, the random acts of kindness you could do, but you know what they are, and they don’t have to be large. All it takes is the will to do it and the best time is when you least feel like it. Because in the end, acts of kindness are sneakily selfish. Although they are acts to make someone else happier, they inevitably make us feel better, happier as well. So be kind friends, take those opportunities to say or do something that will bring someone a little joy. It’s make a happier day for them, and happier days for you my friends. ~ Rev Kane