A Hunt for Joy

Last March 23, 2008, on Easter Sunday, we attended a Children’s Mass at our parish. On that same day, there was also going to be an Easter Egg Hunt for the children.

We were told that the Egg Hunt would start at 10:30am and that the younger kids (those 6 years old and below) would be segregated from the older kids (7 years old and above). The mass that we attended was at 9am and finished at about 10am. We talked to some people first after, thinking that the egg hunt would still start at 10:30am.

At about 10:15am, we went to the open area where the Easter Egg Hunt was to take place. We belatedly discovered that the hunt had started much earlier and that there were no other eggs left.

My daughter had been looking forward to the egg hunt since about a week back. She looked disappointed for awhile but later appreciated getting two eggs from one of the organizers. She didn’t need to hunt for it. The organizers just gave her the eggs.

I was disappointed for my daughter. I had wanted her to experience the fun of doing the hunt but with the change in rules and circumstances, she couldn’t participate anymore. I felt frustrated and sad. I think I was sadder even than my daughter.

We rode the car home and in the vehicle, I noticed that my daughter did not look sad anymore. She was content having the two colorful, plastic eggs (with small chocolates inside) in her hands and upon reaching our home, she asked if I could play egg hunt with her. We then took turns hiding the eggs and finding them — just the two of us and just the two eggs — and she looked really gleeful and happy.

As I watched my daughter, I felt proud at how she behaved. She did not wallow in sadness or in feelings of frustration and just carried on. In fact, I thought she was more mature about the entire thing — than me.

It was then that I thought to myself — this girl will go far. Life is filled with disappointments and frustrations and a great difference is made by how fast we can rebound and move on.

In our search (or was it a non-search) for Easter eggs, we had found something else. I was reminded that joy is not something you look or hunt for in things around you but is something that you determine. Something that comes from within. The best kind of joy is not the one that is just handed to us for the taking but is something that we decide on feeling even when circumstances do not make it as easy to be happy.

The hunt for joy — begins and ends with us and in our belief in a good and gracious Lord. It is something that life cannot do without for the hunt for real joy will start from within.