A few years ago, I took my daughter Chloe on a three-day trip to Mobile, Alabama, for a combined birthday/high school graduation trip. She knew we were going but not the destination until minutes before we hopped on a bus in downtown Atlanta. The biggest treat in store for her — for both of us, really — was concert tickets to see one of our favorite bands at the historic Saenger Theatre.

I didn’t tell Chloe about the concert immediately. I love surprises and couldn’t wait to see her face when she discovered this one. We strolled around town the evening before the show and I even walked up to the front of the theater, thinking that might give it away, but she didn’t notice the poster.

Just hours before the show, I told her where I was taking her, and she was as excited as I’d hoped she’d be. We arrived early, bought our souvenirs, found our seats, and then walked around the beautiful old theater. We sat down and pulled out our phones, eager to notify the world where we were and what we were doing.

I noticed a couple in front of us trying to take a selfie, and I smiled at how happy they seemed to be there, just as we were. But when the concert began and we jumped to our feet, I realized how big the man in front of me was. I envisioned a night of shifting and straining to peek through the gaps and get glimpses of the stage.

I knew right then I could fixate on the challenge before me (literally) or decide to wring every drop of joy from a night I’d anticipated for four months.

I chose joy.

Please join me today at (in)courage for the rest of the story! How can we choose joy in circumstances when anger or frustration comes easier?

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