Sarah finds joy wherever she is. And let us be clear, she does not simply stumble upon it; she hunts for it. Whether it is her baby nephew Makai tipping over while learning to sit up, her dog Paisley demonstrating how to be present, or her work showing her that it matters that she is there, Sarah is continually looking for the joy in each moment. These, of course, are the easy times. Sarah is also familiar with the hard times.
Sarah comes from a blended family. Both a biological mother and a stepmother, a biological father and a stepfather, a half-brother, a stepbrother, and an adopted brother (all of whom Sarah refers to as “brother”), two nieces, two nephews, many skin colors and religions represented, hers is an amalgam of a family. Sarah fondly remembers going with her mother (a Jewish woman) to her stepmother’s house for Christmas morning. This type of interaction taught Sarah that labels do not matter as much as caring for people does. Please read this paragraph again and hunt for the joy represented in family.
Sarah spent her childhood living with her mother and stepfather, but spent regular time with her father and stepmother, and maintains close relationships with both her parents. Her relationship with her late stepfather, a challenging one, stands in contrast to the relationship she had with her stepmother, who was a strong support person in her life. Sarah’s biological father married Karin when Sarah was young. Sarah and Karin remained close after that, to the extent that Sarah lived with her for a time after she and Sarah’s father divorced. In her early 20s, Sarah was part of Karin’s support team while she underwent cancer treatment. It was during this time that Sarah’s stepbrother got married and held the ceremony in Karin’s home, prior to Karin’s passing. Please read this paragraph again and hunt for the joy represented among the pain.
Sarah is both pragmatic and intuitive. She worked as an immigration lawyer for several years before becoming a social worker in public schools. Her training as an attorney helps her be action-oriented and find solutions when a high school student experiencing homelessness needs a social security card in order to find a job. Her training as a social worker keeps her in the moment and helps her to be present in each conversation she has, whether about grades or suicidal ideation. Please read this paragraph again and hunt for the joy represented in daily interactions.
Sarah is learning to be happy aside from external circumstances. She sees hers as a decision to either struggle against what is or to make peace with it. She pays attention to what is good rather than focusing on what is bad. “You can just get so bogged down in all the horrible stuff that’s going on, that you can just miss that there’s still a lot of goodness happening.” May we all find joy as effectively as Sarah does.