Finding the joy

Emotions, both good and bad, spike at this time of year in North America.  I find myself thinking about the people who might be having a tough time around the holidays.  Several commented on posts that we were making from Southeast Asia that they appreciated stories of joy as they were feeling overwhelmed by the deluge of negativity in the news of late, from the craziness of the despotic leader down south to a seemingly unending list of celebrities being accused of sexual wrongdoings.  It can be a bit much, especially if you're sitting on the emotional edge as it is.

There is joy, hope and love all around us, but you may need to tune your radar to be able to see it.  Unfortunately, our senses are hardwired to focus on the negative stuff.


In what many people would see as situations of utter poverty, we chose to see other things. We saw young children exploring the world, playing in a ditch full of water.


We saw old friends laughing and celebrating the fact that a neighbour was getting a hand up.



We saw a lady who had been blessed with abundance in one moment, turn around and start paying it forward in the next. 


We saw children who have no access to technology and very little financial resources, having fun with each other and experiencing joy, companionship and the bonds of family.

Some will accuse me of having a utopian view of the world, seeing everything through rose-coloured glasses.  I don't believe that is true. 

The family of Chat Tom (shown above), was living in desperate conditions.  Their home, if you could call it that, was a ramshackle shelter, open to the elements and falling apart.  They had every right to feel despair, frustration, and a total lack of hope. 

Instead, I saw a family that had stuck together through the tough times and was ready to start a new chapter.  The emotional centre of our Cambodian experience was contained in my final goodbye to Chat Tom.  In those brief seconds as we shook hands, I was blown away by his dignity, strength of character and love of family. 

My hope for you is that you find the peace and joy that surrounds us and is within us, too.  It is there if you allow yourself to see it and feel it.



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