My nine year old son, Abe was so gitty and filled with joy tonight after perfectly performing his magic trick at his “magic show” cub scout pack meeting and playing with his cub scout buddies afterwards. His smile was incredibly contagious. He was lighting up our home with joy. And his joy was so simple. Little things like trading rainbow loom rubber band bracelets with friends. Chasing, wrestling, and tickling, energetic 9-year-old boys style. Making fart noises and teasing friends. He is so easily entreated.
Makes me wonder what simple things bring me joy. What brings a smile to my face and light to my eyes? What gives me that gitty excitement of childhood? Am I easily entreated and joyful? Sure I am. Sometimes. I feel at peace and happy when everyone pitches in to clean the house and we’re able to spend quality time together in a clear space. Or when the kids get off to school and I get to take an hour to myself to run. To meditate in the outdoors all alone. Or sometimes when I look at my 18-month-old daughter and I cant stop myself from spilling kisses all over her soft, plump cheeks. My heart overflows with love for that perfect little soul. Her crystal clear bright blue eyes full of curiosity and hope. Joy. Pure joy.
Could I be even more joyful though? As joyful as a child? Could I find incredible joy in the smallest of things. Like my 5-year-old, Ali who, as she was helping me make dinner tonight, was enamored by the artistic design on a cross section of sliced red cabbage. “Wow! LOOK! It looks like a maze, Mom!” “How does it do that?”
And then there’s 7-year-old Breanne who I picked up early from school today after she had vomited all over the elementary school hallway. As I asked her about the experience and braced myself for a potentially life-altering tale of embarrassment, she told me that she felt looked after and loved because her friend who witnessed the event ran to get a teacher right away. And everyone was so kind and empathetic towards her. Even with vomit residue on her chin, that smile of love and acceptance was heart-warming.
Certainly I could be more joyful. I could find gratitude and beauty in this simplest of things. I could see the good in people and overlook my own insecurities. I could find gratitude for things I normally take for granted. Like the soft click of this sleek keyboard. Isn’t it incredible that someone invented such a genius device? Or the peaceful hum of the dishwasher cleaning our dishes in preparation for another day of nutritious abundance. The serenity of a quiet home full of sleeping children. What a miracle. That we’re all here together in this home. In this family. Learning and experiencing life together. The howling wind outside and the fact that I have a strong, warm house to protect me from it.
As I focus on those few simple things, the miracles and blessings, there is no room for darkness. Instead, I feel joyful. Joyful as a child.