Podcast Episode 22: Look for Joy that’s Already There

    Aug 3, 2020

     
     

    Have you ever had a “defining moment”–an actual moment in time that changed the trajectory of your life, or at least your mind?

    When people ask me how I’ve come to write and speak so much about joy, I always point them to the story about a moment of sorrow in my life that changed the way I thought about joy.

    I’ll admit, as transformative moments go, it’s a little on the bizarre side.

    But in case you yourself might be a little on the bizarre side, I’ll share it…because there’s a chance it could change your perspective, too.

    Spoiler alert: Just so you know–if you’re going through a tough time right now–joy and tough times are not mutually exclusive…
     

    Transcript for Episode 22: Look for Joy that's Already There

    I’m Jill Baughan, and you’re listening to the podcast called Find Joy…No Matter What.

     

    This is Episode 22.

     

    If you’re in a tough place right now, your joy may seem like it’s hiding–or gone.

     

    I understand. But it’s still there, I promise, just waiting to be resurrected. And this podcast is designed to help you do just that…no matter what else is going on in your life.

     

    For just a few minutes each week, I’ll tell you a story–one that just might inspire a way to uncover a piece of joy you might be looking for. Then, we’ll consider how it might speak to your life, because even though you’ll hear quite a few of my stories during our time together, I believe you’ll find your own in every one of mine.

     

    Finally, I’ll offer a benediction to send you into your day–or into your night.

     

    So. If you’re up for doing joy shots with a friend today…have a listen

     

    Have you ever had a “defining moment”–an actual moment in time that changed the trajectory of your life, or at least your mind?

     

    When people ask me how I’ve come to write and speak so much about joy, I always point them to the story about a moment of sorrow in my life that changed the way I thought about joy.

     

    I’ll admit, as transformative moments go, it’s a little on the weird side.

     

    But in case you yourself might be a little on the weird side, I’ll share it…because there’s a chance it could change your perspective, too.

     

    A while back, my husband, Ben, and I were at a basketball banquet that was catered by Chick-Fil-A, the restaurant chain with the brilliant ads featuring cows and misspelled words. (Somehow it works.) In fact, that night, the featured mascot was a person in a cow suit, who bounded in, high fiving kids and cavorting around the gym in fun fashion.

     

    I turned to Ben and said, “That looks like a good time. I could do that.” To which he replied, “Yeah, you should.”

     

    And then I didn’t. Sounded like a lot of trouble, and a job requiring skills I probably didn’t have.

     

    But a couple months later we were eating at a Chick-Fil-A, when my daughter said, “Hey Mom, why don’t you go up there and ask the manager about putting on that cow suit?”

     

    Busted.

     

    How could I not, and risk being a poor role model for my own offspring? So I approached the counter, asked for the manager, and when he appeared, I said, “Could you tell me exactly what it takes to be able to put on that cow suit and do a couple gigs?”

     

    “What does it take…” he repeated thoughtfully, and looked at me like no one had ever asked such a question before.  Finally he responded.

     

    “A pulse,” he said. “It takes a pulse.”

     

    So I told him I’d like to apply, and he handed me an application that was clearly intended for an adolescent looking for a part time job.  A few days later the human resources representative called and asked if I could meet her for an interview.

     

    Really excited and anxious to have a little fun, I pulled together my college transcripts, a resume, and some references into a most professional portfolio.

    Then I dressed to kill, and met her at the mall. We talked, and after a few minutes, ever the professional, she stood up, shook my hand and said, “I am delighted to offer you the position of Area Market Cow for Chick-Fil-A.”

     

    Well. Who’da thought? I was ecstatic.

     

    My first gig was a couple weeks later at the mall.

     

    I met her in the catacombs behind the foot court, ready to hop into that suit and charm my way into the hearts of unsuspecting shoppers.

     

    If you have never been in a cow suit, I must tell you that those duds are HOT. Climbing into the furry body, I laughed and said, “Wow, just like wearing toasty winter jammies!” Next, I slid my feet into the big hooves and said, “Wow, just like wearing big winter boots in the snow!” Then she put the gloves on my hands, and I said, “Wow, just like warm, woolly winter mittens!”

     

    I was actually breaking quite a sweat by this time, but the biggest challenge was yet to come: the head. When she plopped that huge thing on top of my shoulders, my mere sweat turned into a racing heart. I could see nothing except my feet. The only place to see out was a little mesh opening at the cow’s mouth, and by golly, it was dark in there! I couldn’t scratch my nose; I couldn’t wipe the sweat out of my eyes! I couldn’t see! The temperature shot up about 20 degrees, and I went completely claustrophobic.  I was about to yell, “GET ME OUTTA HERE!”

     

    But I stopped short of ripping the head off and running out into the parking lot because I thought, “You can’t do that. You’ve told everyone you know that you’re going to be this cow. You’ve got what it takes, girl, now just get out there and do it!” I felt like one of those guys I once saw on a TV show about Navy SEAL training…only there was more at stake here.

     

    Fortunately, my little pep talk worked. I eventually relaxed enough to venture out, and actually had a great time.

     

    From there I went on tour to a couple of shopping centers, a baseball diamond, and a random party. My favorite, though, was my last appearance at the same basketball banquet that had spoken to my restless heart a year before. As I stood behind a door, waiting to make my entrance, I had no idea how life-changing my swan song was going to be.

     

    It was at this moment I felt my hormonal furnace revving up inside me (ladies of a “certain age” will totally understand this), sending the temperature inside that suit into the stratosphere.

     

    “Oh no, God, please no!” I thought.

     

    This was an actual prayer.

     

    (Ladies of a “certain age” will totally understand this also.)

     

    But it wasn’t just because of the heat. It was a fresh reminder of personal sorrow that I was experiencing. You see, Ben and I had dealt with infertility for most of our married life. (I’ve talked a little bit about this in Episode 1)Against the odds, God gave us a beautiful daughter, and we enjoyed her so much that for twenty years we asked Him for another.

     

    He said no.

     

    For whatever reason, we weren’t led to adopt, and weren’t candidates for other methods of conception. And at that point in my life, every “personal summer” was a fresh reminder that my reproductive years were coming to an end, and “no more babies” was His final answer.

     

    And for a long time, I felt profoundly sad. Getting up in the morning was really hard; facing the day and everything I was supposed to be doing was really hard. 

     

    You see, I had always been a deeply joyful person, but I was struggling to find that joy. It came to the point where couldn’t decide if I was still a joyful person just going through a season of sadness…or if I was actually turning into a sad person.

     

    That very thought broke my heart.

     

    You, too, know what this feels like:

     

    When God says “no,” and it doesn’t make any sense,

     

    When there’s something in your life that you wish were different,

     

    When you desperately want something you don’t have.

     

    Oh friends, I’m willing to bet that there’s not one unbroken heart among all of us.

     

    But that particular night, at that particular moment of escalating temperatures, God in His wisdom gave me a thought that revolutionized my approach to tough times:

     

    “Wow,” I thought.” This is a perfect picture of joy and sorrow in the same place–me having a hot flash in a cow suit!”

     

    I had to laugh, and in that moment I came to realize that it’s possible for joy and sadness to walk side by side in the same life.

     

    It’s just up to us to access the joy while we’re going through the tough stuff.

     

    It’s up to us to be intentional about finding joy.

     

    And so my friend,

     

    May you come to know that your sorrow shouldn’t be denied, but neither should it be your address.

     

    And when the hot flashes in your own life–whatever reminds you of your own sorrow–threaten to send your spirit underground,

     

    May you find your own version of a cow suit to remind yourself that joy is there, all around you, over you, beside you and beneath your feet.  No matter what.

     

    Thanks so much for joining me.

     

     

    If you know people who need a little help pulling from the good stuff while they travel through tough times, I invite you to share this podcast with them, and subscribe yourself on iTunes, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Or you can go to my website at jillbaughan.com, click on a podcast episode and sign up to receive episodes in your inbox.  Just don’t miss a single one, because I so look forward to being with you again soon.

     

    Be assured, my friends–it’s already there.  And always, always remember, if you go looking for joy, you’ll most likely find it.

     

    Till next time…

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