created at: 2013-12-17

I was recently visiting my family in Spain. My mother, sister and I were ordering some drinks in an outdoor bar, enjoying balmy Andalusian weather, when my mother, starting a conversation with the waiter asked how the financial crisis is affecting the business. He responded without missing a beat: “As long as there is money for food and laughter everything is okay”. I was struck. Really? All you need is food and laughter? That is all? What about a house? What about health? What about a Jewish education? And then I considered the lesson in this waiter’s words. A complete stranger had brought me to a new understanding of what joy is and the place it can take in our lives. We are all so busy, with long to-do lists, work, social commitments, and responsibilities. Where is there room for joy? If we think of joy and laughter as sustenance, then its pursuit takes on new meaning. It lightens our spirits. How much time do we spend doing things that are fun with our families? Are we teaching our kids the value of being “b’simcha” being in joy? My son came home saying that he learned in school that when we smile it actually makes us feel better inside; it makes us happier. Lately we are making a point of smiling at each other at home. Just because. 

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