“Set your heart on doing good. Do it over and over again, and you will be filled with joy.” – Buddha
I was asked to take a small piece of paper from a basket as I walked into the studio room for an exercise class last Sunday.
“It’s an affirmation,” I was told by the smiling instructor. “Take one if you’d like.”
I did, and slowly unfolded it.
“Seek joy,” it read.
A good one I thought for a bitter cold week.
Especially since I wasn’t feeling sweet at all.
The Valentine’s Day holiday can do that to a girl, especially when you’re buying your own chocolates.
My rational side knows it’s just another Hallmark holiday, so I was happy to re-focus on a quest for joy.
Still, I mailed a few Valentines to friends and family.
And I addressed a box of playful kitten and puppy Valentines for some young kids I work with for their annual party.
I found myself smiling as I wrote them out.
And I smiled even more as I received some in return.
Such incredible handmade cards they were, full of carefully constructed red hearts and painstakingly written “I love you”s.
My own heart skipped a beat.
I was so impressed by their generous spirit and good work. I wanted to do the same.
Then running an errand later at the local animal shelter, I had an idea.
I dug deep into the bottom of my purse for an extra Valentine. I had tossed a few in, just in case I came across someone who needed a day brightener.
And I had just met a candidate.
He was a 5 year old hound dog with soulful eyes.
A new tripod, he’d recently had surgery to remove one of his back legs.
The poor fellow still looked a bit sluggish from the operation, but had a special sparkle in his eye.
I walked over to the adoption desk, to inquire about his chances for finding a family. I knew the hound’s early days were tough ones.
“Well he actually has a prospect, and is on hold,” I was told.
Grinning, I thought about the average $147.00 spent this year by those celebrating Valentine’s Day on flowers that fade and cards that are tossed out with the trash.
But this sweet hound dog could fill someone’s heart with love for many years to come.
I quickly penned a puppy Valentine on behalf of Rex, a year old chi mix I adopted in December at the same shelter.
And then I handed the shelter associate three bills to help defray some of the hound’s adoption costs and hopefully seal the deal.
While waiting for my receipt, I saw a little shih tzu named Joy shimmying thru the busy reception area with a volunteer to meet up with his new mom.
On the speaker I then heard the words, “Joy is going home. Joy is going home!” Smiles spread quickly on all who heard.
Taking my receipt I walked out the front door to my car with my heart now full, led by sweet Joy all the way down the sidewalk.
And I whispered softly another quote I adore.
“In times of joy, all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag.”
If I had one, I know mine would have been wagging like crazy.