Hopefully, you'll find the purpose of the beginning to the end...
Vanilla is a plain flavor. It is the go to flavor to "dress-up" with other toppings, because its simplicity lends it to be so compatible with other flavors. Vanilla isn't complicated; it doesn't require a great deal of ingredients; it's simple. Everyday, I am thankful for vanilla faces: The people who make life feel simple- yet purposeful.
Recently, I met people from different parts of the country and beyond. I re-discovered what I appreciate most about traveling to various countries, cities, and states. The WORLD is so full of simple people; simple really good people that are not concerned with being classified by race or status, but serve a cause simply because they have a passion for others and a zest for living. Vanilla faces have an appreciation for life in its absolute presence, and recognize the abundance of life all around them.
While working with these vanilla faces, I found myself observing what made them smile; the jokes they made; their non-verbal ques of affection. My observation reminded me that life is often not as complicated as we make it. In fact, the chaotic and devestating moments are majority far and few between, because love and happiness is happening all around us and within us more often than we acknowledge. So, I found myself intentionally observing JOY.
I literally watched joy personify itself through the actions of others. I saw pure laughter- the kind that brought tears; the embracing of one another- the kind that let's you know someone is happy to see you; genuine smiles- the ones that just happen unintentionally; most of all, I could feel the energy and presence of life in the room. As cliche as this may sound, my heart fluttered.
There we were, all from different walks of life, in this isolated place to work for others and with one another. We had cuts and aches from wrapping and lifting heavy boxes and standing on our feet for hours on end; we had frustrating moments from having our space invaded and listening to people bark out orders. But despite all of this- people continued smiling, laughing, and encouraging one another because they were investing in something that they knew would bring others joy and in turn bring even more joy to their heart.
I remember pausing and allowing myself to take in the moment. Not often enough
do we truly take these moments to reflect on what they symbolize. Mothers and fathers often have those incredible moments of joy watching their children grow. But, how often do we allow ourself the opportunity to observe joy in every day people? It exists. It actually is all around us. Life provides us with free admission into what is intended to be the most epic movie we ever see.
The challenge for happiness is to believe that it truly exist- that it is truly a choice and a state of mind. Many people can be incredibly jaded by the mis-perception that hope and joy do not exist. They do. For everyone. Yes, they become clouted by the storms that life bring. Yes, they are often difficult to obtain because they are so ridiculously immeasurable and un-plannable- but that is the beauty of hope and joy.
Ten years ago, I watched an interview from a girl from Sierra Leone. She spoke about her experiences with sexual assaults, poverty, and violence. You would have expected tears- breakdowns and anger- but she focused on joy. She talked about her family and the good aspects of her culture. She reflected on her journey as if it were an experience that made her appreciate life in a way she never dreamed possible. It was remarkable.
When you cannot find hope and joy within yourself, open your eyes to the things that are happening around you. Do not pay attention to the superficial things like financial wealth and materialistic things- those are not natural elements of joy- they are simply the "dress-up" to finding it. Pay close attention to the vanilla faces; the simple actions of people happening all around you everyday. Motivation is driven by purpose- hope and joy revive us in the most difficult of times...
Tis the season to by joyful.