Archive for the ‘Delight’ Category

Joy in the Ordinary

Friday, April 5th, 2019

As I examined the reasons for my joy in the midst of the most ordinary days, I realized that joy loves ordinary life best of all. Joy thrives on what all the rest of the world overlooks. The smaller, the plainer, the more lowly the circumstances, the happier joy is.

Of course joy can also thrive in exotic and thrilling situations. Joy itself does not inhere, however, in the exotic and the thrilling, which are rare, but in the ordinary, which is everywhere. As I ride on a roller coaster with my daughter, what produces joy is not the roller-coaster but the fact of sharing an experience with my daughter, which I could also do at home. Or maybe it’s watching the people in the car ahead that brings me joy, or noticing the way the sun shines on the rooftops around. Without the enjoyment of such ordinary things, a roller-coaster ride falls flat.

Those who think of joy as flashy and exciting will also find it fickle, for not much of life is glitzy. True joy, far from being loud and capricious, is by nature just the opposite — quiet and faithful.

— Mike Mason, Champagne for the Soul, p. 139-140

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, April 5, 2019

Fed by Life

Wednesday, February 13th, 2019

How can we know all this, yet somehow experience joy? Because that’s how we’re designed — for awareness and curiosity. We are hardwired with curiosity inside us, because life knew that this would keep us going even in bad sailing. We see the newborn energy of the universe most flagrantly in the sea and in the entire Jell-O-y wiggle of a baby. The universe expresses itself most showily as children, and it moves through children of all ages — your nephew, baby Jesus, and Ruth Gordon in Harold and Maude, shimmying at eighty in a cocktail dress. Life feeds anyone who is open to taste its food, wonder, and glee — its immediacy. We see this toward the end of many people’s lives, when everything in their wasted bodies fights to stay alive, for a few more kisses or bites of ice cream, one more hour with you. Life is still flowing through them: life is them.

— Anne Lamott, Almost Everything, p. 63

Photo: My nieces at the Chinese Garden, Portland, Oregon, February 1, 2019

Delight in Our Efforts

Saturday, December 1st, 2018

Some people say, “God is good, and God has a plan for you.” I believe that God is good but also that God is too busy loving me to have a plan for me. Like a caring parent, God receives our childlike painting of a tree — usually an unrecognizable mess — and delights in it. God doesn’t hand it back and say, “Come back when it looks more like a tree” or tell us how to improve it. God simply delights in us. Like the kid at probation camp after confession: “You mean you just sealed my record?” The God who always wants to clean the slate is hard to believe. Yet the truth about God is that God is too good to be true. And whenever human beings bump into something too good to be true, we decide it’s not true.

— Gregory Boyle, Barking to the Choir, p. 22

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, November 27, 2018

Looking Good

Monday, November 12th, 2018

Happiness suits us well. Whatever our condition, when we’re happy we function better both physically and spiritually. We’re more alert, productive, and helpful to others. Joy looks good on us because we’re made for it. Put misery in your tank and see how far you get. Then try a little joy — laugh with friends, play with children, “sing and make music in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19) — and feel the vigor of youth flow back into your bones.

— Mike Mason, Champagne for the Soul, p. 104

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, September 13, 2015.