We have all been held hostage by the coronavirus pandemic in one way or another. Some contracted the virus, some had their business closed, some essential workers were overworked, some had to safely isolate themselves for over a year, some couldn’t visit with family and friends. It’s been tough to find much joy since the pandemic began.

Even here at Garden Terrace Senior Living, which is a tightly packed 146 apartments, interaction between residents almost ground to a halt. No recreation room gatherings, no scheduled events and meals delivered to the apartments became the norm. And if you did interact with someone, both of you were masked so it was hard to recognize anyone you came in contact with.

Just recently I ran across the book, “A Year of Living Mindfully” edited by Richard Fields, Ph.D. In it on Day 41 was the following jumble of words: JOYISNOWHERE.

Dr. Fields points out that, “Some people read it as ‘Joy is nowhere.’ But you can also read it as ‘Joy is now here.’ No matter what the past or our hoped-for future, there is happiness and joy to be found if we open our eyes and hearts to the present situation. Cultivating gratitude is a good way to recognize and affirm the happiness and joy in your life.”

That really resonated with me. I wish I had seen that quote 12 months ago. It just may have made the year go by a little quicker. At least it could have made the year feel more hopeful. Now, as we all are getting vaccinated, it’s easy to say — joy is now here. Joy is now here. Joy is now here.

Perhaps if we would have taught our residents to be mindful of the “Joy is now here” mantra last March, their senior moments from then until now could have been a little less stressful and a little brighter. I guess we’ll never know.

But there are plenty of days ahead that we all can proclaim, “Joy is Now Here!”

Ken Neher is executive director at Garden Terrace Senior Living in Wenatchee.