"May I ask for your number?"

“May I ask for your number?”

I’d been wrapped in the buzz of the local coffee shop for almost 2 hours before the man from the table behind me tapped me on the shoulder. I’d noticed him when I first came in - handsome, fit, with kind eyes that sparkled when he said “hello” to the folks who passed by his table.

When he tapped me on the shoulder he said, “You’ve been at it for hours busy bee. Can I ask what you’re working on?” We chatted about my leaving a career in college athletics to start a business coaching coaches and designing workshops for athletic departments and teams. We connected over a shared background in psychology, a fascination of people, and a love for communication. 

He likes to rock climb, bike, hike, run, and adventure. He asked if I was single and when I told him I was he shook his head and said, “Betsy, I think you are the loveliest thing someone hasn’t met yet.” I’m sure I was blushing as I thanked him and when he asked for my number I couldn’t resist…

Bill is 81. And, this spring he lost his “one and only” when his wife of 59 years passed away.

“She was an artist, a really lovely artist and she filled our home with so many beautiful things. I miss her every day. She filled our little world with joy.”


In my 33 years one thing I’ve learned is that when someone uses the word “joy” it’s time to pay attention. Joy is different from “happiness”. It’s deeper somehow. Joy is delight and excitement and radiating warmth that fills a heart while expanding a smile. Happiness comes and goes, but joy has a permanence to it. A kind of lastingness that is felt independent of its source. The opportunity to talk with someone who has experienced a life with joy is why I gave Bill my number. 

Next month Bill is going on an 18-day walking tour of Japan. He’s walking because “she always wanted to walk instead of drive. ‘It’s all a blur when you drive’, she’d say. ‘Let’s walk so we don’t miss anything’.”

From what I can tell, Bill hasn’t missed much. I’m already thankful he didn’t miss me.

EnJOY your day! 

[Thanks for reading! If you have an experience of joy you'd like to share I'd love to hear it. And if you'd like to have "Lately with Betsy" delivered right to your inbox please click here.]