Jelly-Filled Moments

5 Apr

When I was little, I went to the hospital monthly. I didn’t like strangers touching me, being separated from my Dad, how many attempts it took them to find veins and thread catheters into my tiny body.

But it’s not the hospital gowns and cheery nurses that stand out in my memory. It’s the jelly-filled donut my Dad and I would split afterwards. It’s the walk along the railroad tracks in Dover that we’d take, just the two of us. It’s the feelings of safety and peace that I will forever associate with jelly-filled donuts.

I don’t like donuts. In fact, I’m not sure I ever did. My vices now are Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Cracklin’ Oat Bran although indulgences are infrequent. But I was always willing to take a few bites of unpleasant donut to get to the fruit-filling. I’ve always loved fruit. And I’ll always have my jelly-filled memories.

As an adult, I often find myself too busy to enjoy the jelly-moments. Food is inhaled for energy, vehicles are used for transportation, failure often jostled out success when competing for memory storage space.

We spend our days putting out fires…yet the building never burns down. We spend our days wishing for one more hour…yet we manage to get the essentials taken care of. We communicate in order to obtain information or dump our problems, we engage people in order to network with them, we live to work when we should be working to provide for life.

The jelly-filling is out there. It’s just sometimes hiding behind a failure or even a success. A presentation well delivered may be just that. Or it may speak to growth in your presentation skills, your artistic bent, your ease with the material. A performance review may be a chance to reevaluate where you are headed. Is doing a great job at work you don’t love really worth it? Leading a team may involve construction, potholes and heavy lifting. But is there jelly-filling in what you are building?

We call this searching for the silver lining. But maybe we need to search less and just quietly observe what moves us, what matters to us, what motivates us.

Last year, there were work awards and school achievements and I finished first place in my inaugural (and only, so far) bike race. But when a friend asked what I did last year, I remembered: eating Oscar’s Garbage Can ice cream in sizzling Miami with my Mom, camping/hiking a national park, a delightful afternoon after thanksgiving with all my siblings, hysterical laughing at Hershey Park with my cousins, holding a baby while playing Redneck Life, seeing a coworker conquer an incredible setback, seeing another coworker grow in confidence, leading a work team through some rocky implementations, running in the White Mountains twice in a month, a friend picking up when I called in the middle of the night because of bad dreams.

If you are having trouble finding the jelly-filling, ask another. We can often see it more clearly for others than for ourselves. Or listen when you talk. Key words like: love, excited, fun, challenging, success, proud, happy, unexpected often appear in a sentence right before a jelly-filled experience.

You don’t have to like donuts (or work, laundry, dishes, drama, homework, rejection, despair) in order to appreciate something about them.

But if there’s suddenly a world-wide Cinnamon Toast Crunch shortage, you will be blamed.

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