I’ve been thinking about joy and writing about joy and reading about joy this month, but some of my most valuable lessons about joy seem to just hit me out of the blue.
I had just finished ordering school books and supplies for next year, switching out loads of laundry, and was in process of cleaning up lunch and hastily loading the dishwasher. I had been moving from one task to the next all morning, trying to get all of the STUFF done so that I could get some ‘real, important work’ done.
I have an article that needs to be written and a digital magazine to put together and all of this STUFF (making meals, preparing for school, caring for my family’s needs, etc.) was keeping me from getting to the important things that I really NEEDED to do.
As I turned around to take a stack of plates to the cabinet I caught a glimpse of our little furry girl, Rosie, doing what she does several times a day…sitting at the widow, longingly looking outside at all that she’s missing out on by being cooped up in the house.
Never mind that she’s pretty much the queen of this castle. She has a full food bowl, cold water, treats, people to play with, and an endless supply of snuggles. Still. She often goes to this window in our kitchen and gazes out at all the places she’s rather be.
Maybe she’s imagining that she’s chasing the squirrels or rabbits or birds that she sees scampering outside, just out of her reach. Maybe she’d considering what it would feel like to run wild out in the field.
I smiled. Then it hit me, like a sucker punch to the gut.
I’m totally pulling a Rosie.
But worse, you know, because I’m a person who should know better.
I felt like an ungrateful jerk until grace flooded in and washed that ugly thought right out of my head.
I’m moving through the tasks of my day, longingly looking ahead to the things I feel like I’m missing out on, while all of this good stuff of daily life surrounds me.
And it’s stealing my joy.
Isn’t that how it works sometimes?
We get so consumed looking at the things we wish we had, the things that we wish that we were doing, the places that we wish that we were; that we miss out on the good stuff, the joy, that surrounds us.
Our joy is being hijacked right out from under our noses because we are too busy dreaming about the ‘what ifs’ to notice the joy right around us!
Rosie could be playing fetch with Gavin, whose sprawled on the floor in the living room reading a book. She could graze from her food bowl or she could curl up in the little patch of sunlight streaming through the window and enjoy a warm nap like our other furry girl, Lilly, is doing.
Instead, she’s longingly look out at what she’s missing out on.
Kind of just like I was doing when I rushed from one task to the next, not engaging in the moments or with the people around me, barreling through my morning with my eyes longingly looking ahead to the “important” things; missing out on the joy all around me. Kind of like we all do sometimes.
Ouch. I know that realization hurts a little. It did for me too, but remember grace, friend.
You see, I should know better, because one of the things that I have learned about joy this month is that when I’m actively looking for it, I can almost always find a reason to be joyful in any moment. I bet you can too.
Even in the mundane, we are all so blessed. Even in the hard moments, there is always a glimmer of joy to be found. Even in the messy, imperfect moments, there are reasons for joy.
The more we look for joy, the more we notice it in the everyday moments, right where we are.
Unless we pull a Rosie.
Sweet friend, if we are constantly looking out at the things we wish we had, the places we wish we were, the things we wish we could do; then we miss out on the joy that is all around us.
Goals, dreams, wants, desires; they are good and healthy. Heck, I even think they are necessary. I’m a big dreamer. However, when we get so focused on what we are missing out on that we forget to engage in and enjoy the moments that happen right in the middle of our every day, we miss out on so much joy right where we are.
I don’t want to miss out on the everyday joys, and I don’t want that for you either.
So, I’m taking a big, deep breath. I’m pausing from the tasks to curl up on the couch next my kiddo and type this.
I’m letting gratitude for this lesson and for the joy that sits right there in the middle all of the messy, imperfect moments sink in to my heart.
I’m enjoying this space instead of resenting it. I’m extending a little grace to myself. I’m keeping my eye out for the joy around me. I’m being grateful.
Maybe you will want to do the same if your joy is being hijacked by the what ifs.
And, just so you know, Rosie gave up her window post to drape herself over the cushion behind my shoulders and she’s snoring contentedly in my ear.
Maybe we are all learning lessons about finding joy right where we are today.
Love and blessing,