Every morning, at least on work days, I wake up and drag my slippered feet into the kitchen to turn on the coffee pot. As I wait for the coffee, I stumble around in a state I would best describe as barely-there-misery. Typically, my hair is matted on one side and standing out about five inches in a ratted mess on the other. I’m normally wearing fluffy, comfortable pajamas or a robe of similar texture. The look on my face is, well, pained.
Each morning, I fight the urge to either stay in bed or call in sick and revel in the beauty that surrounds me at our house. Who really loves waking up earlier than the sunshine only to trudge off to work, or going through the “getting ready” ritual that’s just part of being an adult? Not this lady.
However, after the coffee’s finished brewing, I sit on the steps of our front porch and breathe in the air. Where I live, it smells like dirt, leaves, and whatever shrub or flower is in bloom at the time. The sun rises over the hill down the road, but I see enough of it to begin to feel hopeful about being alive again. God and I typically have a conversation that goes something like this:
“God, seriously, I do not want to do this.”
“I just want to stay home. I love it here. Why do I have to go to work?”
“Okay, I know I have to go because I have to earn an income. But let it go on record that I do NOT want to do this. But I’ll do it anyway.”
*silent beautiful moment in nature catches my eye*
After that, things start looking up for me. I guess the truth of the matter is that I start looking up rather than down. And it turns my day around every single time.
Don’t get me wrong–there have been times in my life when I’ve been so stressed, so depressed, or so distraught that I didn’t even see anything. I only felt what I felt and focused on that. And sometimes it’s hard not to when things are falling apart or feel hopeless.
This is why I’ve chosen to focus on the facts. The fact is that God is crying out to us through sunrises, through the smiles of those around us, through the smell of breakfast cooking by someone we love.
He’s crying out to us through beauty.
What’s my response? I want it to be joy, always. I want to breathe in every beautiful second. And then, I want to exhale it as joy so that others who might be struggling (as I often do) can grab hold of something precious, something fun, something lovely, or something joyful.
On my way into work, I either drive along listening to the hum of my vehicle or turn on some inspiring music. I look for gifts from God, things of beauty along the way. A few months ago, after we moved out to the country, I started paying attention to all the love notes God threw in my path every morning. Sometimes it’s the smell of rain just over the horizon. Sometimes it’s a piercing sunrise fighting its way through the clouds. Sometimes it’s a child waving at me as she waits for the school bus.
But almost every day, He reminds me to look to the left when I turn a certain corner. At the top of the hill, two or three developmentally disabled adults stand at the edge of the parking lot of a building. They wait every morning for me to notice them. When I pass by, their faces light up, and they frantically wave and make exaggerated arm motions, signalling me to honk my horn for them. I do it. Every day. And every day, they smile and laugh hysterically. And I smile, too.
I believe those people are just sharing joy with me.
And I’m giving it back to them. And I plan on doing it every single day.
I don’t want to be a joy hoarder.