Please take a minute to really enjoy the photo above, it's a winner! See the little blondie on the right, bursting with excitement from the tips of her toes to the top of her head. Her impressively large mouth is open with unbridled glee as she shows off her magical Easter bounty. See the siblings whose faces tell a completely different story. This picure is a perfectly captured moment of pure youngest-child- joy coupled with older sibling wisdom and it cracks me up.
In the off chance the size of her mouth didn't give it away already, that happy litle girl is me. A bundle of unbridled enthusiasm dressed in onesie-pajamas, squealing in delight over a.... hard.... boiled..... egg. Apparently my older sisters did not get the memo about the glorious wonders of inedible eggs that smell faintly of vinegar. See those looks on their faces? I get those a lot.
Like when i got so excited over these gorgeous pink flowers at Wegmans that the florist took a slight step backwards.
Or when people who dont quite understand, ask me about the birds' eggs and rocks that I keep in jars in my kitchen, and I Joyfully tell them that these are some of my most prized possessions.
Or my hubby's face when I brought home this inexpensive "hippie-van" coffee mug that I absolutely had to buy and presented it to him as if I had just purchased a priceless work of art.
Simply put, little things bring me great joy! Like, seriously over-the-top, funny- looks- from- strangers, joy.
Lately, however, I have found myself feeling less than excited about things. I feel like I'm purposely blocking my joyful side because there are bigger, more serious, horribly sad things going on in the world. Life feels too hard, too scary, and too mean right now to delight in the ordinary. Recently, Caroline and Rick showed me a hummingbird who was feeding in our garden. Suddenly it moved towards us and hovered, stopping to stare at Simon, bird beak to dog nose, through the storm door. I was awestruck, but to be honest, I was also a bit numb to it. I remember feeling like my joy meter had been turned way down without my permission. Somehow anxiety over the future stole my excitment for the now when I wasn't looking.
This weekend, I had the wonderful pleasure of hosting an event that brought together some precious people who are united in helping this world become a more loving and inclusive place. It was a time of serious discussion and detailed planning followed by side splitting laughter and some slighty inappropriate humor that was oh-so-good for the soul. Almost half of the people in attendance were younger than 25 and their spirit and wisdom gave me tremendous hope in our future.
I woke up this morning renewed and re-focused. Last night showed me that if there is one thing I am sure of, it is that there is room for the hard and the happy, the painful and the beautiful, the complicated and the ordinary. I recently watched a video put out by The Atlantic that talked about overcoming nervousness by replacing the words "I AM NERVOUS" with the phrase "I AM EXCITED". I realized today, that I have been doing the exact opposite. To pay tribute to the seriousness of the times, I've ignored my joy and replaced my "I AM EXCITED" with "I AM FLIPPING SCARED...and angry.....and sad and so on....
Enough is enough. Rest assured, I'm not going to to stop paying attention nor stop fighting against the hatred, violence and prejudice of our time- this fight is too important to stop now and perserverence is my thing. I am still angry/scared/sad and freaking out on a pretty regular basis...... but I am going to soften my heart a bit and find my way back to expressing my joy in the ordinary and also draw attention to what is right. I want to replace nervous with excitement and exclaim out loud my joy at the beauty of this world. I want to delight in what is good while fighting all these mighty battles. I'm getting a pretty loud and clear message that if I start stifling my joy, the bad guys win.
Who's with me? Shall we amp up our efforts to look for the beautiful things while staying ever vigilant against the ugly? Look for the good while also standing up against injustice and hatred. Take time to look for the ordinary but amazing things that make you burst with excitement! Wishing you some mouth wide-open, make- strangers- stare, exclaim-outloud joy today!
Also, ever since the horrific events in Charlottesville last week, I have had a powerful painting percolating in my brain. New paint supplies arrive Monday. I AM EXCITED Watch my progress here