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A new heart of joy

If there is one thing I could take from my father’s life is how to be a joyful person. Despite any situation he was going through in life he always had this mirth of joy bubbling from his heart.

One situation in his life that really stood out for me was his almost fatal hit and run road accident. When he came back home after spending weeks at the hospital, we were all shocked about his physical appearance – he had lost so much weight, from chubby to real skinny, he had scars across his face and his walk changed, he would walk with a slight shuffle for the rest of his life. I really cried that day. Truly we were all sympathetic and pitiful of his situation. That is until Daddy, my father spoke.

The physicals may have changed but the stories, jokes and warm anecdotes never left his heart. He narrated to us of his ordeal even managing to throw in some warm recollections. Same old Dad inside. Tables turned when he spoke to you – he was that sunshine on a rainy day. Hope over despair. Instead of pity, he was now the one encouraging us. He made us realize that whatever situation we would ever go through in life – a joyful heart would see one through.

Sometimes I wonder if he were alive in this world today how his perspectives of life would be during this perilous Covid-19 times, one thing is for sure – Giving up would never be an option. He would ask us all to find new ways to live and still do it with joy.

In these times of the resurgence of Covid-19, and the third wave that has come with a vengeance in my country Kenya it may be truly difficult to find yourself happy as you look around and keep on hearing of people that you knew and treasured having passed on but one can still have joy for life. Joy is that good feeling that stems from inside unlike happiness that is pegged on external circumstances or what you are going through in life.

Indeed there are some people whom through their genetics and personality make up who seem to be more joyous than others, but we can all have joy in our hearts even if we are not naturally inclined to be joyful.

Some tips on joy

  1. Appreciate that you have the basic things in life as you aspire and work for the best that you desire for. Food, shelter and clothing are enough to be thankful for. It may not be the best or what you aspire for but it still is. You may not have the best of everything but make the best of what you have today. It may not be a gourmet meal from the snazziest restaurant in town but even a simple meal of ugali, sukuma wiki and maziwa mala that is very popular in my beloved Kenya is delicious and will still nourish your body.
  2. Connect with other people. Specifically people who have a positive outlook to life and are trying their best despite their circumstances whether good or bad.
  3. Give. Random acts of kindness. It is indeed a blessing to give more than to receive. If you find that you have a bit more than your neighbour who is going through a rough patch during these perilous times, share. Apparently the act of sharing increases joy in our hearts.
  4. Always have an attitude of gratitude. Count your blessings however small or little they may seem.
  5. Forgive those who’ve hurt you even if they did not ask for your forgiveness. Leave the broken pieces and be willing to start anew. Hanging on to past hurts and pains, regurgitating disappointments from days gone by takes away the joy from your heart.
  6. Have more colour in your life. Eg wear colourful clothes and accessories, add brighter colours to your home. They are not just called ‘happy socks’ for nothing.
  7. 7.Avoid listening or watching negative news first thing in the morning or before you go to sleep.
  8. Stop worrying. Most of the time what we worry about never happens. Instead remain hopeful that this storm like many other storms that you have weathered in life will pass.
  9. Listen to positive and energetic music, podcasts that build you, watch
    programs/movies or read books that motivate.
  10. Self-care. Take care of your body, mind and soul. We all have those little things that we do that make us feel pampered. Enjoy them.

Having a sense of purpose will also see you through any situation in life and last but not least if you have a faith that you adhere to, that will be a strong anchor and give you a sense of joy through the ups and downs of life.
Are there other things that you think can increase the joy in ones heart that we may have left out ?

“For he’s a jolly good fellow,
For he’s a jolly good fellow,
For he’s a jolly good fellow
And nobody can deny.”

Thank you for the joy Tata. Daddy. Pops. Papa. Baba wangu.
I need more joy in my heart over happiness in my life.
A joyful heart is wished to all during these perilous times.

‘Wacha niKwambie’
April 2021 – To New Beginnings
A New Heart