Do you Hear, See, Feel Joy?January 4, 2022
The past few months I have been taking our Therapy Dog Foster to a local park. He loves chasing squirrels and sniffing out the smells of Southeast Texas. As much as I should say this routine is for exercise, it’s really given me much more than that – I find myself able to reflect and relax, as well as find simple joy in the act of being disconnected from the larger world.
While Foster has found joy in acorns, ducks and those wanting to give him a scratch behind the ears, I have found joy in what I have heard, seen and felt during my walks. I have heard ducks flapping in the water, children giggling down a slide, and the quiet tapping of acorns falling from a branch. I heard a mother say to her child, sharing the generational love of a park: “This is where I had one of my birthday parties when I was a kid!”
Over the course of these walks, I witnessed a gender reveal with a balloon pop – the confetti shows a girl!!! There were fathers fishing with their young, and a young couple in a fresh relationship having a picnic. The picnic was simple: a blanket, Subway sandwiches, and a Route 44 Sonic drink. As distressed as I was, I quickly forgot about myself as I watched a son run laps in order to outlast his athletic older brother. All the while the father was yelling: “I know you have it in you!” At every visit, I saw walkers – some with ear buds, some without – all focused on the unassuming task of making the loop again and again.
The feeling of the breeze, the sticky, wet moister of the humidity – yes, it’s Southeast Texas, so you can have both within 20 minutes! But mostly what I felt on those walks was the feeling of simple joy. The joy of knowing that each person, each family, each living creature was doing the same thing I was. Finding joy. Living their lives for that one moment – living for the ones they were sharing their time with, living for the crunch of an acorn, the smile of the one you were with or the hello from the one you didn’t know. Finding the time to share bites of a birthday cupcake, to hold someone’s hand, or even take a photograph of a turtle swimming in a pond.
As I continue my trips, I look forward to what I will see, hear and feel, because each trip I make, someone or something new comes along and brings me that simple feeling of joy. May you spend some time in the coming days and weeks doing the same.
Happy New Year from our Samaritan Family to Yours.
Robin McCutcheon, MEd. is Samaritan Counseling Center’s Executive Director. She is a Lamar University and McNeese State University graduate. Her career has spanned public school teaching, regional, state and national educational consulting, program evaluation and effectiveness, and higher education teaching and field experience coordination. Born and raised in Southeast Texas, Robin has loved raising her children around friends, family and her church community. She spends most of her time attending events for her children, nieces and nephews alongside her family and friends. Robin finds her greatest joy in serving others and finding ways to empower those around her to find their purpose.