Sometimes I wonder if I am sending faulty messages about me and the subject matter of this blog. As in, when you end up finding a blog about the pursuit of a joyful life, amidst the other blogs out there in the blogosphere, one might think it is written by a very positive, happy-go-lucky, Type A personality. Someone with no troubles and a very privileged life. How amusing to think anyone might think that about me. Just ask my husband…
My blog is not written by a perpetually happy person who just finds life a dandy game of Candyland, where everything is pink, fluffy and full of sugary sweetness. In fact, I have lived most of life quite sadly, joy-less.
The pursuit for me is to find joy amidst the rubble of the everyday grind, within which I often find myself living. To take that which is potentially a joy killer and turn it into something that generates joy. It is an irony, of sorts, to find joy in a life that is full of stress and difficulty. Imperfection is the nature of this messed-up world we live in. Finding joy in imperfect circumstances is the saving grace, and that is why I strive to find it all along the way.
Joy. Living life to the fullest. Finding purpose in the here and now. Finding acceptance and contentment with what I have been given. Living life looking for the best, not the worst. Feeling fully satisfied without always having everything. “Having it all” is a sad misconception. Having those things which are of worth is the key.
Joy today was found in planting flowers with the children in KA English, room 103. I had prepped the students on Monday that we would be planting seeds sometime this week. We talked about what we might need to grow a flower. We discussed how long it takes for the seeds to sprout. We looked at and carefully examined seeds. We planned a list of items to start collecting. We read books that would inform and enlighten us on the growing process. We talked about the weather.
It was a long week.
Every day, the students asked if today was the day. No, I would answer. “We have to learn about flowers before we attempt growing them.”
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…the days crawled by. Thursday and then finally, Friday was upon us.
I had planned to use the afternoon to launch the activity, and no sooner had I laid out the items needed on an old tablecloth, than those little hands were reaching for dirt and seeds. It was all I could do to hold them back while I explained how it would all unfold. And finally, it was time to sink little fingers into dirt and let the rich soil fill up their cup with goodness.
After planting, we placed our beans and sunflowers on the window sill in the glow of the March sun. Light streamed in the window, casting shadows through the blinds. After everyone had found that perfect spot, the children went away and resumed other activities. The plants were left to do what plants do best: sit and grow.
After ten minutes had passed, the students started asking if any of the seeds had sprouted yet. A little throng of five-year old gardeners once again had gathered under the window sill. “Did they grow yet,” little voices questioned one another. “Maybe if we give them ten more minutes,” came the reply.
We are often in such a rush for the good things to happen that we fail to see that the process is where it is really at. Life is not a culmination, it is a process. It is the in-between moments wherein we really live.
We are born, we take first steps, we learn to talk, we go to school, we lose our first tooth, we learn to ride a bike. We fall in love, we learn to drive, we graduate high school and perhaps university, if we are truly blessed, we find our soul mate. We get a job, a bank account, a mortgage and a house. Then, we have a family. Life continues to unfold, milestone after milestone, as it speeds full-stream ahead. Time doesn’t wait for us to live out the in-between moments; we must plan for how we live out those moments all by ourselves.
We live those moments best when we start to realize that this moment, just now, has just passed by. And so has this one. And this one too. Moments fade into moments. We cannot waste time living life joy-less because time is too precious for that. The moment we are in right now has two sides: joy or bitterness. We embrace one emotion at a time. We embrace that which we deem to be the best. Our priorities, worldview, circumstances and mental outlook dictate how we view our given moments.
Like seeds, we grow into our fullest potential in the fullness of time. But the in-between moments, those wherein we prune and water, nuture and weed the garden of our lives, are by far the longest moments we have in this flowering of life.
No moment is more real or of greater value than the moment we are living right now. Care for your seeds, but don’t watch them grow. Life is too short for rushing the growing process.