7 am (Thurs)
I like to remind myself of the simple joys in life. Perhaps that’s why I recently started daily journal keeping again— to remember. Some of the simple joys in my life relate to my family and the experiences I have with others, even strangers. They remind me why each day can be beautiful, if I’ll only look beyond the shadows.
You might remember that I like to stalk writers. I’ve contacted a few of them by leaving a comment on their websites or sending emails.Thankfully, they didn’t treat me like a weirdo. Some actually responded. One such person is Latoya Wakefield, a young Jamaica writer that self-published a children’s book recently.
She’s been so kind to me, offering advice about the ins and outs of the industry— how to find illustrators and so forth. She also mentioned CreateSpace, Amazon’s platform for self-publishing. To say I appreciate her help is a gross understatement. But since I can’t think of anything else to say, I’ll confess simply that I am grateful.
I’m grateful that despite our busyness, we can reach out to others and they can likewise reach out to us. I’m grateful that in my desperate attempts to find myself as a writer, I touch more than shadows. I’m grateful that in my own attempts at self-discovery I find others who care just as passionately about art, literature, life and humanity.
The world would be such a better place if we’d look at others as friends instead of rivals, as family instead of strangers. I don’t endorse naivety or lack of precaution but I encourage kindness. I thrive in the sunshine radiating from those who are willing to share not only their knowledge but snippets of their time.
Another simple joy in life relates to my family and the experiences I’ve had while doing family history. Since 2006, I’ve been immersing myself in genealogy work , trying to go back as far as I can, documenting names and other details along the way. Recently, my research has become even more interesting thanks to FamilySearch, a website which offers access to tons of records without the requirement of subscription fees.
On Easter Monday I made fascinating discoveries thanks to the help of my maternal Grandmother, Viola. You should have seen us hunched over the laptop, searching online for documents. Grandma could barely see due t0 the netbook’s tiny screen.
But we pushed along, nonetheless. Such exciting times. Unforgettable times. Names became people. The faceless became human as Grandma told me stories about Obediah Allen, Lucille Costa and Ida McNish— people who I’ve never met but now feel like I know. Blank spaces on our family tree were being replaced with individuals who unknowing shaped my very being.
Our excitement could not be quelled as documents popped up of John Costa, my grandmother’s father and his family. Grandma had never seen his birth documents. She’d met him when she was in her forties and never really built a relationship with many of his relatives.
I told Grandma before I left her home how grateful I was that we got to spend time together doing family history. Each morsel of information seemed to expand me, making me feel more connected to my family and the history we share. I felt like I could stretch back into the eons, unravel mysteries and seek out the lost, unnamed memories of those who came before me.
I know sometimes life seems like a struggle and we wonder if we’ll be able to keep our heads above the raging waters. We may think of our governments— all the tax and corruption. We may think of the wars and tragedies that set the world in seemingly never-ending commotion. We may wonder what the future holds— will things ever change?
I choose to live in the present, anchored by the hope of a better world. The simple joys in life that flutter their butterfly wings at us each day are ever-present but only careful observation reveal them. I choose to see the beauty in life, the simple things.
Have you recognized any simple joys of late? I’d love to hear about your experiences.