The 2007 movie, "The Bucket List" has what I consider one of the all-time, most thought provoking lines of conversation in it. If you haven't seen the movie yet, I highly recommend that you do, but offer the excerpt below. If you have already seen it and am not quite sure what it is I'm talking about, then read on please.
As the movie unfolds, a conversation is shared between two unlikely friends, Edward (Jack Nicholson) and Carter (Morgan Freeman) while over looking the pyramids of Egypt at sunset. Always the philosopher, Carter asks his friend Edward the two questions asked of the dead by the gods at the entrance to heaven:
"Have you found joy in your life? Has your life brought joy to others?"
How would you answer these questions? I'd like to say I have found joy in my life, in simple living and taking advantage of what the world has to offer me. That may be a day of sunshine (go out and enjoy it!), the birds chirping (take a moment to listen to their song!), saying yes to what seems like an "odd" invitation at the time, or just simply sharing my passion with others (whether it's a fundraiser for a charity, or teaching others how to work with their pets). Most of all, I think my joy is appreciating the people and Earth around me.
Now comes the tough question, have I brought joy to others? Again, I would love to think so (wouldn't we all?) but how can you really tell if you've changed someones life for the better, or given them a happier day? I know I impact people's lives in small ways, but does that count as joy, as bliss? Example: I train dogs (people really) and have moved some pet owners to tears with their dog's positive behavior changes. Is this joy, or just a relief that they no longer have the worst pet in class? I do my best to encourage others by example (and with occasional arm twisting and brute force) to break out of their shell and explore the world around them, but does learning a new craft or participating in a 5K give them joy? (or does it just get me to stop pestering them to do things?) Does spewing off random memorized quotes (that I'm full of) help bring comfort or joy to someone in pain or strife?
I may never know the impact (good or bad) that I have on others. I may never know whether knowing me or if the actions I choose to pursue are received in a positive manner by others, but I'd like to think so. So I guess with that said, my point is that I'll never stop trying to share a smile with the world and the people in it. I will continue to search out the joy in my life every day. Have you done something today to bring joy to someone else life? If not, the day isn't over yet, there's still time! Find the joy in your life!
The Bucket List: Trailer