Finding joy in the journey

“That they might have joy” column by Jacki Wood

This time of year is one of reflection for me. Reviewing goals from the last year and setting some for the new year.

In looking back on the past year, I realized I haven’t written a column since August.

I was a little surprised I’d been neglecting it quite so much, but in my review, I realized why… the communication (media) law class I took this past semester. Man, that took a lot my mental energy. So much so that I guess I couldn’t think of anything meaningful to share here.

So I thought I would do a quick recap of a few things I realized or thought were noteworthy over the past few months since this column has seen some ink on the pages.

“the class”

The comm law class was really quite challenging. And I actually really appreciated that about it.

I realized I need that in my life. I mean, sometimes it’s nice to have it easy, to just sit back and relax and let life float by. I’m not sure I remember what that’s like, but I’m sure it’s nice.

But it’s also nice to work hard at something, really stretch yourself and feel the sweetness of success.

“family first”

I had the rare opportunity of attending a BYU basketball game recently. My Cougars were playing up in Omaha against Creighton, so my sister, Amy, (who also attended BYU) convinced our other sister and brother, Christy and Ryan (who both live in Omaha), to go to the game with us, along with Amy’s husband, Will.

They won, I nearly lost my voice cheering them on and it was great fun. But what I realized, more than how much I love it when BYU wins, is how important it is to spend time with family. We all live relatively close, but it’s still a rare treat when we can all get together.

I also realized this with the recent death of a cousin, who lost his battle with cancer a few weeks ago. It was amazing to see the support of other family members and everyone remembering what an amazing man he was and how he’ll be missed.

One of the greatest blessings I have in my life is my belief that families can be together forever. Although we are all grieving, I’m sure there was great rejoicing as he was reunited with other lost loved ones.

“real fans”

I attended a junior high basketball game this fall and was disgusted at the so-called fans at the game, especially their booing.

Who boos? And why do they boo? I can’t stand it. To me, hearing someone boo at a game is worse than walking away with a loss.

I once read some sports psychologist say that fans boo because they want to be a part of the game, believing they have some sort of impact on its outcome.

It reminded me of watching other games, from pee wee to high school, where you sometimes (translation = a LOT of the time) see a parent coaching from the stands, booing at the refs, yelling at their kid…perhaps all in an attempt to relive their glory days – or would-be glory days – of their youth.

This drives me absolutely insane. The less-civilized person in me wants to stand up and tell them to shut up or go home. I’m trying to enjoy a game. Plus, kids need our encouragement. They need us to practice good sportsmanship. And, they need us to be good examples.

I realized it’s the same outside of sports. Who likes to be around negative people, always “booing” about this or that? I prefer being surrounded by people who have good attitudes, no matter what life is throwing at them. We also need more real fans in our lives, who support and cheer us on, regarles of the circumstances.

“enjoy it”

I had the opportunity to talk to some local high school students recently for Issues and Answers and I asked them about their goals for 2011. Their answers included stuff like doing well in sports and getting their driver’s licenses. Pretty typical teenage goals.

One girl, however, looked at me, smiled casually and said, “Enjoy it.”

I loved it.

I was really impressed by not only the simpleness of her statement but also the wisdom in it.

My life (and probably yours, too) is busy. Crazy, even. I feel like I’m always running from one thing to the next, trying to fit in 25 hours in a day, not stopping to rest or breathe or … enjoy much of anything.

She reminded of something I heard a couple of years ago from Thomas S. Monson about finding joy in the journey, which I guess is the real topic of this abridged column.

He said: “This is our one and only chance at mortal life—here and now. The longer we live, the greater is our realization that it is brief. Opportunities come, and then they are gone.

“I believe that among the greatest lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not. I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by….Instead, find joy in the journey—now.”

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