A couple of weeks ago, in the midst of one of the craziest seasons for a clergy family, we found a moment to head down to the historic district of our town. My daughter had just received a bubble wand as a birthday gift and wanted to take it along. Somehow, a bubble wand seemed like a bad idea – it being totally out of context in the otherwise historically accurate setting. But, I was not in the mood for an argument, so I consented.
There we were, in the midst of tourists, costumed interpreters, walking along cobblestoned streets filled with colonial architecture, and my daughter was gleefully running down the sidewalk with her pink princess bubble wand. Seeing her happy and joyful was enough to bring a smile to my weary face. But what I had not anticipated was how her bubble-making would bring joy to so many around us. A large visiting family burst into smiles as she rained bubbles on them. Little children began tugging on their parents’ clothing, giggling and shouting, “Look!” A mother wistfully thanked us, explaining that her preteens had been catching and chasing the bubbles behind us. I saw some teenage girls light up with a long-gone innocence as the bubbles floated toward their laps. Even a costumed interpreter whispered as she passed, “We all love your bubbles.”
What was so beautiful about that day was the way in which my little four-year old was able to freely and abundantly give away the unexpected gift of joy, laughter, and refreshment. It was such a powerful thing to witness the strength of her gift; seeing her joy, and the spreading of her joy, brought me unexpected joy. That kind of innocent, pure, wholesome goodness is so rare in life and my daughter gave it with abandon.
That wave of abundance, generosity, and joy made me wonder what ways we might be invited to be agents of joy. Perhaps the opportunity could be as simple as bubbles. I had a friend who kept them in her car for whenever she got caught in traffic (it is hard to stay cranky in traffic when bubbles are floating by). But it could be something else – sending a card or making a phone call when a person randomly pops into your mind. Starting a practice of thoughtful, tiny good deeds – little gifts to those whom you know need it, maybe even without credit. Or maybe a new idea will strike you. I would love to hear your ideas. But more so, I would love to hear how it goes when you try it. Practices of abundant joy are catching. I can’t wait to hear about the joy you spread this week.