It’s a gloomy sort of day in New Hampshire. Thick clouds blanket the sky, casting the world into dim gray. A chilly fall breeze dances with the leaves of my dying flowers, as their baskets sway gently. The kaleidoscope of light thrown onto my desk by a small candle draws my eyes with much more power than the computer screen on which I’m attempting to write this blog post. It’s one of those days—a harbinger of fall (which I love) and of another too-soon-to-arrive endless New England winter (which I do not love).
And on this gray autumn day, I’ve been thinking about joy.
Some of us will experience exhilarating mountain-top-in-the-sunshine joy, the sort which wells up within your soul until you feel you may burst open with the fullness of it. But I think for most of us, “real life” is much different than this, and our joy is more…quiet, subtle, simple, perhaps even elusive. This sort of joy can slip through our fingers if we aren’t awake to it, ready to embrace it.
It’s like relishing in the warm glow of my flickering candle when the rest of the world is dim. It’s nothing profound or revolutionary—it’s just a little moment of delight, a moment to be alive, a simple moment of simple joy.
And isn’t this what life is made of, strings of these moments? Most of us will lead rather ordinary lives, far from what could be called exhilarating or extravagant. In this life of the ordinary, it can be easy to rush through, distracted, overwhelmed, busy—or even discouraged that our life is not more “exciting.” But I’m afraid that this attitude can cloud our eyes from the ability to see the little jewels of life which fall at our feet, from the hand of our good God. When we keep our eyes wide open, though, we begin to see these rays of delight, of beauty, of joy. They may be simple, but they keep our hearts attentive with thanksgiving and childlike delight. And, at least in my experience, this practice of paying attention and choosing to embrace even the smallest bits of delight as they come, begins to weave a thread of joy.
So I stay on alert - for the flickering candles and the crisp scent of fall. The first season's apple cider with the spices dancing on my tongue.
We embrace them; we reflect them back in thanks. Simple, quiet joy. Moments of delight. Glimmers of grace.