I write this early Monday morning in front of a roaring fire in Vermont reflecting on the beautiful weekend I just spent wallowing in joy. Friday night I enjoyed a Sabbath sermon by my dear friend Rabbi Bob Alper entitled, “Don’t Postpone Joy.” Saturday evening Bob and I performed a comedy show for a packed house at Israel Congregation of Manchester which raised over $20K for the Puerto Rican Relief Fund. And Sunday, I preached a lighter take on the Easter message entitled, “The King Lives: A Study of Jesus and Elvis.”
I love my job.
Why am I sharing this? Because I believe this weekend (and Bob’s sermon) offer us all an important lesson: “Don’t Postpone Joy!” Oh, we try not to, but life gets in the way with stress, and work demands, and difficult people. But time is ticking. Days pass that we can never get back. While we may think we have time, none of us know what tomorrow brings. None of us have the luxury to put off anything. Especially JOY!
Here are three quick ways we can avoid postponing joy framed in an acronym that spells, “N-O-W.”
N – NEVER ignore an opportunity to smile (or laugh, or sing!) It’s the most important healing tool we have. No matter what your circumstances, opt for the smile and watch the transformation of all those around you. As Louis Armstrong sang:
“When you smilin’, when you smilin’
The whole world smiles with you.
Yes, when you laughin’ oh when you laughin’
The sun comes shinin’ through.”
O-Observe. Many times, we opt for anger or resentment over joy. But if we would observe the situation a little closer, we may choose differently. The next time someone says something that makes you mad, ask yourself: “was it out of malice or ignorance?” If malice, then walk away (and protect your joy). If simple ignorance, then laugh at the mistake, correct them if necessary, and go on your way. Either way, you choose joy.
W-Wallow in gratitude. No matter where you find yourself in life, there are things for which we should be grateful—even if it’s just opening our eyes in the morning. Focus on the things that are good in your life. Think about the things that bring you joy. That’s all that matters. Everything else is rubbish.
This week, remember “N-O-W!”
Remember DON’T POSTPONE JOY!
And most of all, let us remember these words from the Talmud that Bob shared in his sermon: “When we are called in front of our maker, we will each be held responsible for all the opportunities for joy we ignored.”
If you are looking for a great read with heart-warming stories to help you stay in a place of joy, please check out Rabbi Bob Alper’s book, “Thanks I Needed That!” It’s truly a work of the heart.