My daughter bought me a new journal called “God’s Promises for a Mother’s Heart” for my birthday and sure enough, as I opened it up this morning to begin writing in it, the first page encourages me to “look for reasons to be joyous and to celebrate.” Journals to me are like iPods; I believe they somehow know intuitively what message to send you just at the right time.
Admittedly, this is frequently difficult because it seems that there are so many people around me who are genuinely hurting and going through downright difficult times. My mom, however, taught me to be an optimist. She is the original Dale Carnegie/Norman Vincent Peale quote queen so I have always tried to be a good daughter and make a concentrated effort each day to look for the joy and solutions rather than the sadness and problems.
That’s still a big mission though and one that sometimes is ridden with failure for me. Easter weekend is a great reminder for us all that even in the midst of great suffering and turmoil, joy comes in the morning. Like the women in the garden on that first Easter morning, we have to be willing to live among the sadness sometimes and wait it out so that we can see the joy in the morning. Faith means being open to recognizing joy when it comes, even if it doesn’t look the way we expected it to look.
Of course, not everyday is overflowing with joy and celebration, but there truly are moments in each day that can cause our hearts to burst with joy if we are simply on the lookout.
These are some of the humdrum things that are joyful to me. Maybe you'll relate to some of them.
- The sun popping up over the rooftops and sneaking into my bedroom window through the leafless trees
- The quiet crispness of winter (even though right now I’m sick of it)
- The green and warmth of spring and the birds waking me up with their chirping
- In the heat of summer, swinging on the porch swing that my dad and Uncle Doyle built for me
- Hearing the crunch that comes with walking on autumn leaves that have dropped to the ground
- Hearing my husband say thank you for a home cooked meal ( I guess I could grab this joy a little more often if I would cook more!)
- Seeing my kids (or anyone for that matter) in loving and healthy relationships that make them smile and beam from ear to ear
- A picnic – anytime, anywhere
- Watching my kids teach my grandkids about God’s love and the joy that faith brings
- Music, music, music, music . . . listening to it, playing it, singing it
- Watching my grandkids learn and discover the world and voice their own opinions and ideas as if they were the first people in the world to ever discover this knowledge
- Hearing my granddaughter, Amélie, say “this is the best day ever” – nearly every single day
- Seeing a really big body of water everyday that constantly reminds me of just how small I am and how great God is
- Trees - Trees with leaves or trees without leaves – can never decide which is more beautiful
- Any sunrise, a winter sunset
- A full moon shining on the lake or peering through my window
- The memory of running through a field of sunflowers in Spain with my husband
- Making a meal for my mom and dad
- My day-in, day-out, through thick-and-thin girlfriends and remembering all the times we’ve laughed so hard we’ve cried and all the times we’ve just plain cried
- Kittens and puppies who belong to someone else
- The smell of
Hawaiian Tropic suntan oil - only Hawaiian Tropic
- Seeing my grandkids and kids praying in church
- A beautifully set table that makes my guests realize they are “china worthy”
- Old family pictures and creating memories that will be new family pictures
- Cooking with my kids in the kitchen
- Spring cleaning and throwing things away
- Discovering a new favorite book
- Being around a joyful child regardless of who they are the child of
- Sand between my toes
- The special warmth on my skin that comes from a spring or summer sun
- The noise and messiness of a happy and busy family and the quiet and orderliness that eventually comes
- Hearing my father sing, “This is the day that the Lord has made, Let us rejoice and be glad in it”
- Watching my daughters (by birth and marriage) be mothers and my son be a father
- Watching a flower pierce through the ground toward the warm spring sun
- Kneeling in church, praying in church, crying in church, smiling in church, singing in church and never getting enough of the sun coming through those stained glass windows
What makes you joyful? Joy comes. It comes in the morning. It comes in the middle of the day and it comes in the night. And most of the time, it’s free for the taking if you are dedicated to being a “joy catcher” regardless of your circumstances.
“Happy people . . . enjoy the fundamental, often very simple things of life . . .They savor the moment, glad to be alive, enjoying their work, their families, the good things around them. They are adaptable; they can bend with the wind, adjust to the changes in their times, enjoy the contest of life . . . . Their eyes are turned outward; they are aware, compassionate. They have the capacity to love.” ~Jane Canfield
I'm thinking about a few special people in my life as I write this who are going through trials and tribulations. I'm praying and hoping that you will feel the joy that's there for you this Easter morning and every morning because I love you to the moon and back.