Finding Joy

The fact is always obvious much too late, but the most singular difference between happiness and joy is that happiness is a solid and joy a liquid ~ J.D. Salinger

There have been several things that have made me sad lately. I'm reading that sentence and I'm realizing two things: It's an understatement, for one, and it also very likely doesn't read as sad as things really are. I could add more pizazz... more details, more adjectives, more joie de vivre of the grammatical variety, but then it would make it less true. To me, anyway...

Just this past week, the tiniest of things are the things that have brought me the most amazing joy. They have to. I feel like these itty bitty moments in time are the microcosms of greatness and that, if I miss out on recognizing them, then I'm letting go of so many possibilities for happiness.

Ang was gone on a business trip for a week and I let the short people sleep in our bed. Lila is like a large river rock in our big, king-sized mess of blue pillows and blankets. She is smooth, round, and heavy. She doesn't often flip over, but instead slides along the surface of cotton in tiny rotating circles, as she giggles and smiles along with her dreams, the whole night through. AJ is different. It's like he's searching for something he just can't find, and is frustrated all the while. He shot up at about 3am the other night, instantaneously crying and reaching out with his tiny white forearms at the grey air above the bed. Then he caught my gaze, and said, "Oh." And silently crumpled into my hug, snoring within seconds... This brought me such amazing joy.


Joe Paterno, my hero, died two Sundays ago. While I want our children to see us as parents to be human, I don't want them, at the age of four, to be unnecessarily worried or sad. So, while their dad was still away, I needed to be honest and present, but also strong. Lila could see I was crying, and asked me why. I said, "JoePa died, honey, but mommy's OK." She said, "Oh." I gave both of them a bath a few minutes later, and Lila and her little naked belly gave me a rather gruff hug and whispered into my ear, "Don't be sad, Mommy. I don't know where JoePa is now, but I know he's very proud of you for loving him so much." This brought me unexpected joy.

My friend is sick, and we are all waiting for good news. AJ consistently tells me, "Mom. Do you know why I'm sad? Your friend. I want her to be better." Lila is always solemnly nodding her head in the background when he says this. To me, there is joy in the exchange. Because they are so little, and yet they already know how precious life is. While I have a bit of a broken heart, there is joy, and hope on the horizon. There is so much hope...
Some of the struggles I've witnessed and been a part of lately can be eased a bit with just the tiniest recognitions of joy. Of the littlest things that, in fact, are the biggest sources of happiness... It might not be children sending that message, but rather the universe issuing a directive to take note: This minute in time will never be here again. Appreciate where it leads you...

Many things - such as loving, going to sleep, or behaving unaffectedly - are done worst when we try hardest to do them ~ C.S. Lewis

Comments

Krista said…
Oh Jenny, every time I read your blog I wish you lived next door so we could grab coffee in the morning and wine at night. I too have mourned for joe but it's weird out here on the west coast where people don't have a real connection to him. I find I am constantly defending him.... Which makes me sad that they have never had the chance to know or honor such a fine man. I also find as a mother that you have to thank god for all of the small things as joy can get lost in the monotony. I had a huge thank you today to god bc chips a hoy were two for one...... Like I said its the small things that make me smile. Btw- I ate an entire row and I don't regret it a bit ;). Xoxo
JennyCB said…
Krista, I adore you. xo

Popular Posts