Gifts of Joy - (written post plus audio)

This post is the follow up transcription of the audio shared in the previous post.  For your convenience I include the audio below. I share this post as spoken so bear with the casual language.

Something about being IN joy rather than enjoy.  I like the idea that you go around spreading random acts of joy this Christmas season.  Whether you’re a Christian or non Christian or whatever it doesn’t matter. Whatever your belief it doesn’t matter, it’s that this is the holiday of joy, the season of joy. It’s like we’re all running around spreading joy.  And so I thought about this because when I am actually out and I see something I like or think is really nice, I actually say wow that’s great, that just brings me so much joy I love it.  So I’ll give you a few examples.


I saw a lady who had coloured her hair in rainbow colours.  I went wow that is so cool, I don’t think I could do that because I’d probably not want that much attention everywhere I walked.  But this lady obviously can carry it off and I thought that’s cool.   So how did she do it? She just did it because she feels really good doing it, that’s who she is.  So I stopped her and I told her 'I love your hair, I think your hair is amazing', and then I took a photo of it, here’s proof. 

And then I was shopping in the centre the other day and we were all busy rushing around. I swear the Christmas shopping rush is insane. I don’t care where you are in the world as long as anybody’s following seasonal trends it’s just crazy at this time of year. People all want to go shopping and it can be quite frustrating.

So I am going about and I definitely had my fair share of frustrating moments. I thought well I can stop and just enjoy the moment and look around what I’m looking at.   So I stopped and I looked around and this lovely old couple were in front of me in the queue in the grocery store.  The man looked really nice in his plaid shorts, white shirt and really groovy straw kind of hat, like the kind that a lot of trendy young men are wearing these days, only this guy is definitely in his seventies.  So I thought well it suits him, it looks really good on him and he can carry that off.  It’s great that he’s wearing a hat like that it looks really cool, I thought. I wish I could tell him that but I was too shy.  So I went out and I thought oh I missed the opportunity, but as I’m walking to my car who walks to the car in front of me the couple.

So I’m walking to the car and I’m going along and thinking okay can I say this and not embarrass myself.  Well actually I can because I’m so used to saying things like this to random strangers that why would this add anything to that?  Even if they are older and probably think I’m strange I’ll just play the American card with my accent.  So just as I put my groceries in my car they had just put there’s in and they were just next to me in the same spot, I said, “Excuse me is it okay if I just mention something to you?”  And they said, “Sure.”  And I said, “Sir I think your hat is really great I love it, it looks great on you, I think a lot of trendy young men are trying to do that, but you look really good it gives you class, so thanks for having a little style and a sense of yourself out there.”  And the next thing the wife goes, “See, I told you it looks good on you.” 

So it’s a lesson in sharing what you feel when it’s going to bring joy to somebody because that’s probably what it is- it’s a message of joy.   We are all messengers of joy, so why hold it back.  We are so unfortunately good, and I see this all the time, we’re so unfortunately good at saying what we don’t like.  In fact even in my car ride to the shops I had a grumpy moment where I got really mad at the guy in front of me because he wouldn’t let me in, and I thought wow you’re a meanie.  And then I thought okay, how do you say things to make people know that there’s a positive experience, so I’ll give one more example. 

I’m walking to the shops and I run into the postman, now when I grew up everybody knew their postman, there was the same guy or girl  (usually back then it was a guy who did the route), and you all knew who he was and you could say hi, you’d know his first name, you’d give him a present at Christmas.  That’s how I grew up.  I was very much a child of the sixties and I can still remember this. Then I think there must have been a stage where that changed and you didn’t know who your post person was, you didn’t know who delivered your mail anymore, and it changed it wasn’t the same person every day.  Well where we live there’s a guy that goes along and he is the cheeriest most upbeat friendly person I think I’ve ever met.  He always has a smile. He always greets you with a good day. He always has a little story to share with you as he delivers your mail.

And because I work from home I get the privilege of once in a while bumping into him at the right time when he’s delivering mail.  So I’m walking home driving with my son I say, “Hey there’s the cool mailman”, he goes, “Yeah, he is really cool." Now here’s the view from a 16 year old boy.  He says, “Yeah, he came to the door and delivered a parcel the other day, he was really, really friendly, a really good guy”, and he goes, “They should hire people at the post office like him, they should go and get him to recruit people.”  I went, “Wow that’s a great idea, someone who could really inspire other people.” And here his job is just simply delivering your mail every day but. So when I ran into him I said, “Hey by the way do you know that you’re the most awesome postman and my son even thinks so, so you obviously have an impression not just on me but you’ve made it on a 16 year old boy, how’s that?” And he says, “Oh that’s great, thank you!”  Then he goes, “Well I just make it my effort and my purpose to say hello to everybody along the way, even if it takes me 15 more minutes on my route because I know it’s worth it.”

So there are three examples, three stories of bringing joy in the moment because you can, because you’re inspired to, because you actually opened up your mouth and you said something.  But it came from a sincere honest heartfelt place, and that’s what I’m on about. And I don’t know why we can’t do more of that.  I don’t know why we can’t do that every day. I don’t know why everybody can’t do that.  I’m not saying do it all the time, I’m not saying gosh you go up to your grocer, “How are you sir, your hair today looks lovely,” it’s got to be sincere, it’s got to come from a place that really means something and you really give it as a gift.

So go out there this season and give some gifts of joy and have some fun and see what kind of smiles you put on people’s faces.

Here's the audio...

Jenn Shallvey