Stepping onto the airplane, I was full of excitement and ambition as I thought about the opportunities I was about to experience. Traveling with my local mission trip group, N.E.W.S, I was ready to fully immerse myself into helping the families of Biloxi, Mississippi, but little did I know they would be the ones to help me. There are numerous ways to deal with everything that life throws at you, but appreciating the smaller things, and valuing time, imagination, and memories over materialistic goods, allows an individual to accomplish any problem or hardship with grace and fun. Happiness can be found in every situation by appreciating the little things, taking in the moment, and refusing to take anything for granted.
Upon arriving at the worksite, my group and I started our first task, painting a few doors. All of the sudden, a giggling, skipping little boy bounded around the corner of the house towards us. He was about four-years-old and a big, broad smile was plastered across his face. He was followed by a more hesitant boy, who seemed to be his older brother, who quickly apologized for his brother being a distraction. We immediately denied that he was being a bother and proceeded to ask the two of them if they wanted to join in us. Damion, the older of the two boys, declined but Dylan, the younger one, immediately picked up a paintbrush and began painting the doors with us. Before I had time to even blink, Dylan began to use all of the colors of paint we had out and everything was a bright yellow. Paint was on rocks, the grass, and all over Dylan. I decided to grab a few blocks of wood and gave them to Dylan so he could paint them yellow, which would avoid the white doors from becoming a sunshine color. Seeing his eyes light up as his imagination raced made me realize that fun and happiness can be incorporated into almost every situation.
Throughout the week, we continued to incorporate fun into the hard work we were assigned to complete. Everyday, Dylan would race out of the house full of energy, ready for the adventure of the day. Due to the family’s financial restrictions, there were not many toys for Dylan to play with, but a smile remained painted on Dylan’s face at all times. He would use sticks as lightsabers or baseball bats, and through his imagination he was able to have fun in any situation regardless of the materials and resources presented to him. Dylan was truly happy because he was able to appreciate everything in life.
About half way through the week, Damion decided to join in on our fun and played baseball with us. We were all laughing and having fun, but our purpose in being there was to help fix up the house, so the games came to an end and we returned to work. The boys stayed and helped us with the work, Dylan still making a mess with the paint in the grass, and Damion asked if he could help to paint his bedroom door. When we told him he could, his eyes brightened and there was a faint curl to his lips. What was tedious work to us, was a new, fun, exciting opportunity that he had never experienced before. The simple act of painting his bedroom door created so much happiness and truly showed me that the littlest of things should never be taken for granted and anything can be fun and joyful, depending on how you look at it.
Despite the fact that Dylan and Damion did not have the monetary resources to get items such as toys, they were some of the happiest people I have ever met. Even though they definitely had struggles, they were so positive and let their imagination run wild. They appreciated everything in life and never took anything for granted. Happiness can be created by the simplest things and imagination alone. In order to be happy, nothing additional is required.