My One Word 2021 journey with JOY, reaches the seven month mile marker in just 10 more days. Some days wooed me like a whirlwind romance while others left me stranded at the altar. But every day JOY speaks to those who listen. Focusing on plumbing the depths of this tiny word kept me from celebrating JOY in the ordinary moments of my life. Linger with me a bit while I refocus on the exquisite joys I so often take for granted.
A charter member of “Overachiever’s Anonymous”, sadly, I faltered between an attitude of accomplishment and an attitude of abiding curiosity from the start of my Joy Journey. Frankly, much of my overachieving rests as much with my thirst for learning as it does with my identity seeking drive for accomplishment. Still, the best lessons so far came from times of abiding; a lingering in fellowship with my word companion.
life happens in the ordinary moments
Working in hospice and palliative care often reminds me of the brevity of life. While we serve a large elderly demographic, we likewise serve more young adults and pediatric patients than I like to think about.
Facilitating a life review is one of the ways we bring comfort to the dying patient and family. Everyone finds solace in a life well-lived; believing you made a difference by leaving your footprint on this earth.
Often in life, those seemingly ordinary moments hold the most extraordinary meaning.Ken Poirot
These life reviews, often painful, always poignant contain ordinary moments made extraordinary by the passing of time. Excepting the pediatric population, most contain a hunger for more of the moments I often rush through or barely acknowledge. More time lingering outdoors in nature, watching a sunrise/sunset, more hugs, playing that “one more game” with their little ones, longer gazes at loved ones, saying and hearing “I love you” more. In short, “celebrating joy in the ordinary moments.”
finding the extraordinary in the ordinary
Unclear on how it happened, somehow my one word 2021 Joy Journey became a treasure hunt for the magnificent in my tiny word. Not that searching for the magnificent characteristics of Joy amounted to an error of judgment: it simply kept me chasing an illusion.
Like a crazy scavenger hunt, I had no idea for what I searched, but I was sure I failed in finding it. Each discovery gave me a moment of Joy, only to send me back to the chase for something bigger and better.
All of which predictably left me disillusioned and dissatisfied. Until during a recent prayer time seeking God for the missing “joy” nugget I expected, He asked me a question which brought me up short. Simply put, “Why search far and wide for something right in front of your eyes?”
celebrating joy in the ordinary moments
After the question dawned in my heart, a picture of Christmas morning many years ago when my children opened gifts, vividly danced through my mind. Each child ripped through wrapping paper, briefly glanced at the unwrapped gift, tossed it aside and reached for the next package. Finally all the unopened gifts sat strewn across the living room, viewed by disappointed faces; no more gifts to unwrap.
In a way, this picture equaled my Joy Journey: seeking, grasping, glancing and setting aside, continually looking for “more”, when my life stood strewn with joys barely acknowledged, much less cherished. Ashamed, I looked around and listened for joy’s lesson in celebrating joy in the ordinary moments.
Celebrating the joy of my girls
Though blessed with three children: two daughters and a son, my oldest daughter and son currently choose to exclude me from their lives. I have very limited contact and knowledge of my oldest daughter and no knowledge of my son or his whereabouts.
My youngest daughter, however, remains a huge part of my life along with her 2 year old little girl. The pain of losing two of my children often shadows my remaining relationship, resulting in denying myself the joy of what I DO have. We forfeit joy in our current possession lamenting a loss we can no longer hold.
My “girls” as I call them, bless me with their love, hugs, smiles and time on a regular basis. Delighting in their place in my life, their unique personalities, and accomplishments offers me a privilege neither deserved nor promised. The joy of playing with my little Grace and watching her grow fills my eyes with tears. Walking with my daughter as she single parents her little love with both gentleness and determination delights my heart on even the hardest days.
Caress the celebration of what you have; release what is no longer yours and trust future Joy to God.
celebrating the joy of my garden
Spending time in my garden truly brings me joy, well, of course if I spend time in my garden. Instead I often choose chores, soaking in discontent, or again, simply rushing past it on the search for something better. Celebrating joy in the ordinary moments requires eyes desiring to see and ears to hear, especially in the garden.
“Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.” (Psalm 150:6) stands as the perfect theme song for the garden! Not only is my heart full of joy seeing and hearing creation praise God, but His voice speaks clear, gentle and true in the garden like no where else. Perhaps because in the first garden He initiated intimate fellowship with man; or perhaps because His Presence echoes beautiful through His creation.
Join the celebration chorus of creation, allowing the Joy of the Creator breathe life into your weary soul.
celebrating the joy of a beloved memory
She came to us during a time of sorrow, bringing nothing but love and joy lasting just 29 days shy of 15 years. Golda brought joy to a very sick little girl, travelled through hardship, homelessness, grief, loss, happiness, rejoicing, and old age with her family. The day I walked her home for the final time, her eyes locked on mine until the end, piercing my heart with a sorrow I could not hold.
In the almost 3 years since that time, hardly a day passes without a memory of her. But the memory is no longer painful, though it leaves tears upon my cheek. Mourning is like a river flowing towards joy. For without the grief, there would be no memory. And the sweetness of those memories soothe the wounded heart with the salve of joy. I can almost feel her soft fur beneath my fingers, healing; her gentle eyes searching mine; the warmth of her head resting in my lap, and her quiet companionship in my darkest hours.
Mourning is like a river flowing towards joy.
celebrating the joy of my guy
Commonly we take for granted the person closest to us; in most cases our spouse fits the description. Of everyone, my husband remains my biggest cheerleader in my one word 2021 journey. Choosing a Joy Journey of his own, he seeks ways of encouraging me into deeper joy.
But more than that, he abides faithful in getting up at 4:30 am though he might sleep longer, so he can see me off each day with a hug, kiss and wave. Listening to the rambles of a mad woman after a hard day, his easy smile never fades.
Quick with “I love yous”, help with chores and supportive comments, calling him my best friend seems less than all he personifies. His exemplary care for our family, home and the creator and curator of my garden, he makes celebrating joy in ordinary moments a blessing.
Faithful love infuses life’s ordinary with Joy.
celebrating the joy of my god
My greatest joy comes in the ordinary moments with my God. Though it seems strange calling any moment with God ordinary, He steps into every moment of my day. Significant, mundane, fraught with anxiety, or pillaged with trial, these ordinary moments strung together equal my life, and He abides faithful within them.
“In His Presence is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11), one of my anchor verses for my Joy journey reminds me He walks with me in every moment. His Word, the foundation of my day and the hidden treasure of my heart patiently directs, corrects and soothes me. When life’s shifting sands give way, His Presence envelops me in a quiet, constant, abiding Joy; His Joy.
Fullness of Joy flows from the heart of purest love; the gift of Himself.
joy transforms the ordinary
Celebrating Joy in the ordinary moments transforms even painful moments into an altar of gratitude. Like an intricately woven garment of infinite splendor, Joy and gratitude abide as one. Inseparable, they profoundly conform our soul’s image to that of Christ through the most mundane of moments.
Truly hungering for a deeper understanding and experience of my tiny word friend compels me forward in my journey. But the recent pause to treasure the abundance of Joy present in the every day moments, beckons me to a slower pace. For the joy found in ordinary moments contains God’s gift of Himself.
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