Just like my grandmother's button box, we have to find the right button that fits the situation. What may fit with one person, may not fit with another. Don't feel guilty if you try something that other people like to do, but it just doesn't bring you joy. It's okay. I once attended a quilting class that many of my friends love. I see their excitement and love their quilts. However, the first month I went I stressed so much about trying to get my block ready for the next month, that I finally realized this was causing me more stress than joy. For me, it was not the right button. Instead of acting like Cinderella's wicked stepsisters who tried to make the glass slipper fit, we can simply find another shoe. We don't have to fit the shoe in order to find joy and a happy ending, we can find the shoe that fits us and our situations.
Over the last 19 years, we have explored many things to see what brings us joy. Some of our explorations were quite successful, like our bike trip to the Hiawatha Trail in Montana. Others were not so successful, like our bike tour of London. In each case, though, we learned something important and kept exploring. Never give up. Just this year we discovered that Laurent loves to listen to audio books and to do puzzles. We didn't figure that out before. Now, we have new ways besides music that bring him joy in his life. Together, we have also discovered that we like to visit places like Thanksgiving Point Gardens and the Living Aquarium. Sometimes it takes a little thought, creativity, and extra planning to be able to do something with your TBI survivor, but in the end it is so worth it.
Wes Stafford, former president and CEO of Compassion International once said, "Joy is a decision, a really brave one, about how you are going to respond to life." Life's hard. Choose joy anyway.