Originally Written on : feb 18th, 2016, 11:26 pm
I stick the shovel in the snow bank at the end of the driveway and trudge back toward the house, with a sigh of equal parts relief and exasperation. I just spent 45 minutes shoveling the driveway of a rock hard solid snow bank that is 3 feet high from a snow fall 3 days earlier.
I had put off shoveling the drive because there is no joy in clearing out a 3 foot, heavy, wet snow bank when you are 4 foot 11! If it were not for a 12 noon appointment in town the next day, I’d not even have bothered to shovel, as there is something oddly comforting to me about being literally snowed in- unable to go anywhere. It feels like a snuggle hug from your house.
45 minutes of back breaking, breathtaking ( I have asthma) shoveling at -12 Celsius, and it is not finished yet!
The only reason I know it’s been 45 minutes is because the podcast I’ve had in my ears to make this non joyous mundane task of snow shoveling less so, is over.
The heaviness in my arms and pain in my shoulders from the lifting is making itself known as I walk up to the door- So, I am glad for the hour break that is about to commence.
That break that is about to commence is a nightly habit of Neflix and literal chilling with my husband and daughter… because it is 11 pm and that is when my son goes to bed, every night we spend some time watching some favorite TV shows together.
My glasses are foggy from the drastic temperature change and it is hard to see as I step inside the house and begin to pull off my coat and boots. My fingers are frozen and I fumble with the zipper. But I see 15 is at the computer talking to her friends on fb- smiling at the screen as usual. I remind her it is 11 pm.
My son is immediately in my space asking for food before bed, as usual… But, I don’t feel that typical “mom request resentment” because I have to suddenly pee very badly. Usually I’d have said something like “gimme me a minute man, I’m not even out of my coat yet!”… instead I run toward the washroom.
I rush past my husband asking about a salad or SOMETHING to eat before the tv watching commences- And, as I sit down… it hit me!
This little scene… this. is. our. bustle… our jam.
The busy-ness of being us. A family… alive and well…living. And, in that moment… I felt it. (yes, as I peed! Why IS it that my ah-ha moments always happen in the strangest places?)
That It I speak of was this:
The joy in the ordinary. The joy of us. The joy of THAT moment. That typically “us” interaction.
And so, sitting there peeing I shook my head and lifted my face up toward the ceiling with a silly smile on my face and I said, out loud, with a giggle….”Hello!”
I didn’t plan to do that… I had just witnessed myself do it as much as anyone else had.
I said Hello to Joy.Literally and out loud.
You see, I’ve slowly (yet suddenly and seemingly all at once) come to realize in recent months… what Joy really is.
Joy lives in those little moments between the shit of day to day life. Those moments that make you feel thankful for where you are and what you have- No matter where you’re not and no matter what you do not have.
It is not that I have not ever had joyful moments in all my 41 years, or not noticed Joy until this day. I see Joy everyday.
But, this day was the first day I saw Joy in the moment, and welcomed her into my soul, without an expectation of her staying…
I accepted her for what she is and welcomed her with open arms. I enjoyed Joy’s visit without looking at making her a space in the spare room to stay, only to be disappointed when she refused to.
That is my ah-ha!
It may be naive of me to not have known this until now- But, Joy is not always a constant tenant that sticks around, brings luggage and hangs posters in the spare room making it hers.
She is a short drop in visit in each day of our lives. And… I think, that is the misconception we often live with- That joy should stick around and it is a state of living we must work to achieve.
The truth about Joy
We can invite her to come into any moment of our day… just by paying attention. She’ll show up if we look for her and she arrives almost out of thin air like a magical fairy… but she never stays long. For the busy-ness of life demands more attention than we can give her and when that happens, she’ll quietly slip out of the scene.
She’s not upset, she knows her position… and those moments of doing life are not always when she is best appreciated- so she exits stage left, until we invite her back again for another scene. But… she is always standing there, just off stage, waiting for her next queue.
Understanding this finally… like really getting it, is making a difference in my days since I finally figured this out. And, funny enough- Joy shows up more often!
So, I’ve decided I’m going to say hello out loud every time I feel Joy around, and just enjoy her short little visits, rather than expect she is moving in each time she shows up.
Because… when I think about it, sitting here writing this- Moments of joy are like standing barefoot in the grass, blowing bubbles for the kids on a warm breeze in the back yard, as the sun sets on a fun filled relaxing summer day.
You reach out to hold a bubble as it floats toward you and you smile as you do. You enjoy the bubbles for what they are- for how long they are there. You enjoy each bubble for its unique glimmer and size…even thought you know in a moment the surface tension will change and the bubble will be gone. Some bubbles last longer than others..but none of them disappoint you.
The bubbles might be temporary, but the feeling they give us is not. No matter how old we are, we don’t ever forget the pleasure of chasing bubbles as a kid. We are able to hold onto that feeling just by thinking about it… whenever we want. Just like when we say hello to Joy in an ordinary moment and we are are able to hold onto that feeling.
Joy is not something I should be chasing and trying to nail down, it should be like enjoying blowing bubble in the summertime in the back yard with the kids.
So today, I’ve concluded that joy is the looking for and collecting of little moments like these, and not an achievement or a state of being we should strive to reach.
The Jaded Optimist is a Canadian Chick choosing happiness over bullshit. She loves bacon, the color green. The smell of her husband when he hugs her, and blowing bubbles in the summer with her kids.
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