Monday, September 12, 2011

When Is It Happiness and When Is It Joy?

Happiness is wonderful, but joy is a rare and incredible feeling. It is a feeling that races through your body and bubbles like champagne in a crystal flute. I consider myself to be a very happy person, but this weekend I was treated to a dose of pure joy. I was in San Diego to attend the 30th reunion of the management team with whom I opened Neiman Marcus San Diego. They were all very young then, and I was the eldest. Working 24/7; getting to know each other; living on pizza and snack machine food; getting punchy from being tired; having anxiety about whether all would perform to the level needed to ensure a superb store opening; going through all types of team building exercises filled with laughter and learning meant that we bonded in a very special way. It is a way that does not happen when joining an already up-and-running entity. I was a person who always wished to be like television's Mrs. Walton with a huge family (a wish God in His wisdom did not grant). The youngest of my two children went off to college at the time of this store's opening, and the prospect of an empty nest was very unappealing. All of these then young people became like my own children. They worked hard; had fun; made me proud of them; allowed me to love them; spent Christmas Eves in my home if they had no family in the area; and bestowed upon me the great gift of loving me in return. As years passed we went our separate ways, and I watched with pride as they achieved success, married, had children, and moved to various locales. Most of them remained in touch with me which has both pleased and honored me. Our 10th, 20th, and 30th reunions have been so much fun that everyone wants to do it again in five years instead of waiting ten years. Watching these people I love reunite with each other, seeing them pick up where they left off the last time they connected, and knowing that their affection for one and all remains gave me an overwhelming infusion of joy. I am still bubbling!

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