I have a sign at my desk that reads: “What brings you real joy? Do that. Be that. Share that. Spend more time with that and get more joy!” I read this each morning as I’m writing out my priority list and ruminating my daily prayer. The sign is surrounded by photos of my friends’ kids and photos from my adventures around the world.
What gives you real joy?
One of the easiest answers for me is time with my girlfriends. While this once meant slumber parties, Taco Bell and gossiping about boys — today it means backyard potlucks, good wine and gossiping about parenting. I do a lot of baby holding and listening for that last part, but I have a smile on my face nonetheless.
The Germans are so good with language, I’d guess they have a word for the feeling of happiness when you watch a friend become a parent. It is a specific flavor of happy that is so sweet and satisfying. I’ve watched with awe as more and more friends become even better versions of themselves when they have a child. It’s remarkable.
The Germans do have a word I think aptly describes my love for others:
schwarmerei (shver-muh-RY) noun
1. Extravagant enthusiasm
2. Excessive sentimentality
[From Schwrmerei (enthusiasm), from schwrmen (to swarm, to be wild or mad
about). Earliest documented use: 1845.]
If there was ever anything to be extravagant and excessive about, I’ve nailed it.