I’m still thinking about how every one of us can do better at sharing and highlighting the joys of other people.
Twenty-five years ago when our family lived in Michigan, my wife and I managed to squirrel away enough money to take a trip to Hawaii. We were so excited to be escaping our frigid state for the anticipated luxury of a week in ‘paradise’. At the hospital where I worked, I discreetly mentioned the dream vacation that was a dozen days off.
The reactions of friends were mostly cognitive. That is, they would ask what island we were going to, or what airline we were booked on, how long we were going to be gone, etc. Decent questions. But all joyless!
Then Dr. Robert Baker responded with a hearty, “Oh, hey, that’s fantastic! What a great thing to do!” That outburst tickled my soul deeply! Dr. Baker, that day, showed me how to celebrate another person’s good news. The others asked questions (perhaps to disguise their jealousy) to show their interest; but the doctor danced with me.
The doctor read between the lines.
Because I was not showing a lot of excitement about this expensive trip, I was a little self-conscious about it, and maybe even somewhat apologetic—I did not seem to be dancing.
But he jumped behind the scenes and burst out with joy on my behalf. Often, that is what it takes. Creating an atmosphere where the highlights of life can be talked about is a big step in creating a caring community.
On the individual level, you and I must work hard at thoughtful responding. We must put effort into asking people about the nice things we've heard that have happened to them and then we must listen and be energetic in responding.
In a family, a wife is not irritated if her husband comes home exalting over an increase in pay! Nor will a brother be threatened if his sister becomes Miss America! They rejoice together because the success of one is the success of the other. They go up and down together.
We must endeavor to draw attention to the joys, thrills, excitements, and successes of those we are caring about, so all will be encouraged to celebrate with them.