It’s what the children know without an explanation or need for one. It’s what they don’t know too and why they need me to know it. Joy is a choice.
The often cited “research” results that children laugh 400 times a day compared to the 17.5 times of an adult has been revealed as an urban myth. However, as a mom to several young children I can vouch that there are many days of their lives that laughter in their conversations come as easy as their words and often simply trail behind their words as one with them.
Children can transform ordinary words into entirely new worlds, and wonderfulness, the way they laugh. These beautiful conversations are invitations to wonder for certain. Some days I hear it.
Some days, like when the children’s conversations spin into laughter—unlike other days when they stomp to their room in tears, frustration or anger…some days, it seems easier to choose joy. Other days it seems true to say if my life looked like this or that then…
Truth is though: even the blue-grey days can become radiant blue and mysterious, inviting grey through kingdom eyes. God’s kingdom is spacious and God’s kingdom has left a spark in everything. So often I have missed that, lost in the blue-grey, lost in the night, lost in the bad news, lost in the want to’s. Today—I choose joy because, God. God is a verb.
“I need vision beyond myself to see the reality of Your kingdom,
to realize: Your burden is easy, Your yoke is light.
I want to realize Your invitation to walk in the garden
here and now in the cool of the day—lest I hide.”
~Excerpt from Day Three, Pray, Like a Woman in Labor
The wars are real, the deaths of our loved ones separate us from the realities we have known, grief threatens to suffocate, times of mourning must come. Yet something true remains and abides even within all these things and it’s not always laughter, but it is joy. Joy because hope. Joy because God. Embers of true are here. Sparks of life can be seen.
“You make known to me the path of life;
in Your presence there is fullness of joy;
at Your right hand are pleasures forever more.”
His Presence is a place and the place is near, it is here. The kingdom of God, a King who is a Shepherd, is here, ready to lead.
The Inner History of a Day
No one knew the name of this day
Born quietly from deepest night,
It hid it’s face in light,
Demanding nothing for itself,
Opened out to offer each of us
A field of brightness that traveled ahead,
Providing in time, ground to hold our footsteps
And a light of thought to show the way.
The mind of the day draws no attention;
It dwells within the silence of elegance
To create a space for all our words,
Drawing us to listen inward and outward.
We seldom notice how each day is a holy place
Where the eucharist of the ordinary happens,
Transforming our broken fragments
Into an eternal continuity that keeps us.
Somewhere in us a dignity presides
That is more gracious than the smallness
That fuels us with fear and force,
A dignity that trusts the form a day takes.
So at the end of this day, we give thanks
For being betrothed to the unknown
And for the secret work
Through which the mind of the day
And wisdom of the soul become one.
~John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us
Stoking the flames of what we know is beyond us can be as simple as recognizing our thirst. Holy fire creates holy thirst. Holy thirst seeks holy fire. We are caught up in a cycle called love. Joy over us, around us, within us. We get to choose joy because God.
Amazed and wanting to be more amazed today, with you,
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Your people are so big, so beautiful, so bright! Full of glory!
Love your words, and O’donohue’s!
More amazed with (and because of) you!
Larissa, it sure is an honor to have a friend who notices my children’s growth spurts. I am deeply thankful to be living at this time in history amazed together. Your encouragement, joyful heart and real ness inspire me often.
Joy is powerful and too easy to miss thanks to my own spiritual myopia.
Have you seen this video?
JT, your humility (and humor!) has often lead me to hear you louder than many voices in my life. Thank you so much for sharing this with me. [anyone else reading: click it!] It resonates loudly with where my heart is (and wants to be) right now…gonna say more on your site…