My twenty-two month old is in my bedroom, standing barefoot in a mess of her own making, squealing in gibberish. With her just-woke-up-from-a-nap hair and the smudges of cereal bar on her cheeks, she looks like a homeless, uncared for, disaster. Oh, but, her smile.
There are moments when I am ninety-five percent certain this is how God sees me. Babbling nonsense, barefoot in a pile of laundry, but so. Darn. Happy. No, better. Joyful.
Happiness is an emotion brought on by circumstances. Happiness is warm sun, fresh-picked blueberries, tight toddler hugs around your neck, finding a twenty-spot in your pocket. It is a sweet kiss on the cheek or an unexpected you’re beautiful.
Happiness is fleeting and human, but joy, is spiritual and sustaining and you don’t need to have anything circumstantial, or be anyone spectacular to possess it. It’s for everyone.
I don’t need to wait to survive this season of my life to claim it. I don’t need to put my joy on hold until I have a larger, cleaner house and four well-grown children and all of this chaos has burned out and refined me in the process.
Joy is not the end result of an arduous journey or the reward for patient misery, joy is for us, right here, right now. Joy is for me, even here in this trailer park, in this ever-growing mess of children and clutter and clothing.
Joy is accepting grace, trusting in the creator of the path that you’re on and embracing the moment.
I am grateful for every happy moment along this journey (which seems extraordinarily long about this time of year – mid-January in New England.) I am grateful for the things that go better than expected and the little happy notes that carry me through the day. I am grateful for coffee and for friendships, for dark chocolate and cuddling by the fireplace. I am grateful for gifts of happiness.
But mostly, I am grateful for this joy that swells in my heart, regardless. Even when it’s three AM and two of my children have crawled into my bed and made it impossible to rest, or when it’s one in the afternoon and I still have sticky floors to clean and counters to wipe. Joy.
Call me crazy, but I can’t help but want to close this post with a – can I get an amen?
Because joy is good and it’s right there for the embracing, no line to wait in or journey to complete – just claim it.
So. Can I get an amen?
Laundry, treadmill and dishes – here I come.