Monday, October 11, 2010

A Way to Find Enjoyment

At one time, Bangkok television aired the American situation comedy LaVerne and Shirley. For whatever reason, officials there believed that a disclaimer was necessary for the Thailand audience, so this subtitle was added to each show: “The two women depicted in the following episode are from an insane asylum.”

Personally, I’m thankful there is a little silliness in the world. And I don’t mind not acting like everybody else. Like the “irrepressible” educator and speaker Leo Buscaglia once said: “I don’t mind if people think I’m crazy. In fact, I think it’s great! It gives me tremendous latitude for behavior.”

Buscaglia knew how to laugh. And I think knowing how to laugh and have fun is an important part of living.

Someone asked me what I do for fun. I felt I should answer with something others enjoy, like golf or skiing. But my idea of fun is not usually associated with entertainment and recreation. It is more about squeezing as much enjoyment into every day as I can. Instead of looking for something fun to do, I try to make whatever I do a little more fun. And if I can’t always do things I enjoy, I can learn to enjoy more of the things I do.

I like the word “enjoyment” because it has “joy” inside of it. So does the word “rejoice.” And rejoicing is a way to find enjoyment of life.

Speaking of Leo Buscaglia, he used to tell a story about his mother and their "misery dinner." It was the night after his father came home and said it looked as if he would have to go into bankruptcy because his partner had absconded with their firm's funds. His mother’s response was to sell some of her jewelry to buy food enough for a grand feast. At first, other members of the family scolded her for it. But she told them that "the time for joy is now, when we need it most, not next week." They learned to appreciate the hopeful attitude that lifted them out of fear and into joy.

I want to learn to be happy even in those difficult and trying times. I won’t be happy FOR them (who likes problems?), just IN them. I need the soothing medicine of laughter when it hurts. I want to learn that the time for joy is now, when I need it most.

Maybe it sounds silly, but I want to learn to rejoice in all things. And If I’m doing that well, it really doesn’t matter what I like to do for fun.

-- Steve Goodier

Image: Rolf