The call to shove away the endless to-do list for a few minutes and indulge my writer self has grown over the past few weeks so today I did it. I seized a moment!
Recently I listened to a podcast about what’s saving the podcaster, Emily P. Freeman’s, life. Hmmm.
It got me thinking, what’s saving my life right now? In the day to day sense, what’s bringing me small joys?
So here they are reader, my top 4…
Each morning and evening I enjoy the scent, feel, and experience of washing away the grime of the day or night with a new skincare regime. I bought the whole thing a couple weeks ago. It helped that it was on sale and they gave me other free things when I ordered it. I love a deal.
I didn’t expect to enjoy it so much! But each time I breathe in the spa like scents and spray (yes, spray!) my face with the indulgent toner, a little of the drama and struggle of the day passed or the day to come lessens. I’m transported just a little.
And that’s what I love about the small joys in life…they take me out of the mundane, the overwhelming, and engage me in a simple pleasure, a gift from God. Because isn’t that one aspect of our senses? To experience the fullness of God’s creation?
#2: Tennis with my son
Anyone who really knows me knows I am not athletic. I exercise because I want my clothes to fit or fit better. Sweating is not my jam. I’ve never been good at any sport. Wah, wah.
But lately, swinging a racquet with my youngest kid is defying some of my image of myself as a clumsy dweeb. Often I can serve the ball into the right square. So surprising! Sometimes I return a zinger right into the back corner! Nice!
A couple nights ago we weren’t experiencing such moments of transcendence. I was tired, he was off his game and frustrated. He began to hit homeruns on the tennis court…well, off the tennis court to be exact. Not in a happy way. But every one brought this joy to my heart. Look at that ball fly!
So I began to try it out. Wham! And can I tell you, the exhilaration of whacking the snot out of a little yellow ball on a too humid November night in Texas was huge. We spent the last crate of balls hitting as hard and as long as we could and it was….fun.
He loosened up as the pressure of the white lines faded and all Hades broke loose on our court.
This is no new habit of mine, journaling. My brother and I talked about it a few weekends ago and I made my wish known that any journals found upon my passing should be burned and not read. Not because there’s anything especially salacious in them, but because any comment made can have no hope of being talked over and resolved if I’m, well, dead.
So if you find any, just burn them, folks.
Ok, now on to why it’s saving my life.
Journaling is my place to spill my unformed thoughts and worries to God. All that stuff that hangs out rent free in my mind, which is pretty active, gets out and on paper. Somehow that act of thinking it, moving my fingers to put it down in time and space, and then closing the book removes some of my mental clutter.
It’s a physical way of laying some burden, distress, or joy down before God in a way that resonates with more than just my headspace.
Is it prayer? Yes, I guess it is. And probably worship too.
And those things save me in the sense that they rescue me from trying to deal with everything myself.
I also love those sweet Moleskine journals, they make journaling better.
#4: Sport Mode
Not sports like tennis but sports like sports car. A few months back we traded in my husband’s very sensible sedan for a used convertible. It’s a lovely shade of blue, it’s a manual shift, and it had half the miles of the sensible sedan so… we made our mid-life dreams come true.
And I like to drive it like it’s a sports car, because it is. I think it gets worse gas mileage than our van the way we drive it but it is mega fun. We made a pact to drive it with the top down as much as humanly possible. So far so good.
It helps that we all enjoy it. Our youngest thinks his hair looks better after riding in the Miata. Our middle kid leans back, closes his eyes and enjoys the sun and wind on his face. And I enjoy getting hugged by the seat when I accelerate which is often and aggressive as long as it is safe.
Don’t worry, we don’t speed as a habit. We just get up to speed in the funnest way possible.
It’s making most every commute fun except the ones where I end up next to a Texas-sized truck muffler.
But, on the whole, net gain and daily joy are our companions when we tool around in our Blue Bullet.
As you’ll notice, not all of these joys are overtly spiritual. Personally that’s where I think I often land in peril in matters of enjoying the gift of the life God gave me. Seeing these small joys leads me into thanks and gratitude for a God who made a beautiful multi-sensory world and delights that we experience our life here in communion with Him. Whereas a narrow view of what counts, or should count, steals a bit of the joy.
I can’t find communion with Him in many things in this world. There is so much that only seeks to divide us from His love and presence. But there’s so much that can beckon us to come to Him, all us who are weary and burdened, and find rest with Him.
So, what are your small joys that beckon you to look up and enjoy God in your everyday?