Nisha in Jeffrey's Bay - Photo by Reggie Joiner

#2 The right kind of joy can help someone heal.

The first time I heard Nisha’s story, it was just hard to imagine how a girl her age could endure some of the pain that she faced. The difference in her life one year later was amazing. There were caring adults that rescued her and invested in her life. The glimmer that showed in her eyes this past August was a reminder of how time and love can restore the right kind of joy.  There is a reason an ancient proverb says that a “merry heart does good like a medicine.” Nisha’s smile sends a message that the heart can heal. It doesn’t mean the pain is completely gone, or that everything is okay now. But when I see Nisha, it gives me hope. Her story encourages me to keep believing that every heart can heal.

#3 The right kind of joy is contagious.

Have you ever noticed how people who demonstrate a positive and upbeat attitude can have a ripple effect? The kids who hang out at Ithemba in J-bay will change your perspective about life. If you were to meet them, you would immediately be infected by their joy. They are naturally committed to enjoying life. They remind all of us that we make a choice everyday about how we will affect those around us. When you develop an attitude of joy, you are inviting others to a kind of celebration that will change the way they see life. Joy is a gift that we give to the people around us everyday.