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What is joy to you and when do you experience it?


Today was a day when joy spent the day bombarding my senses.  Like a relentless mosquito and much more enjoyable, joy kept finding me. I spent no time opening myself up to experience her and no moment of effort opening intention to notice her.  Instead she was living out loud demanding my notice. Sometimes in life we must hone our mindfulness to not miss her whisper ... other times she is front and center.  That is how she was today in my life and I am intoxicated by her attention.  

I am on vacation which means the agenda of the day gets to arrive through the decadence of desire and present herself in glowing enticement.  It began with waking up and realizing that I had nothing to get out of bed for.  I could reach over and pull my beloved close to me and revel in his smell, the length of his body next to mine and his sleepy sounds and coos. Joy came cascading in as he tells me the antics and heroics of his dreams ... and I laugh again at how he ended up saving the day ... while being naked.   I could feel the near unknown desire to get up and make everyone blueberry pancakes ... something my dad did on blessed Saturday mornings after a good long snuggle in bed.  Joy dive bombed me again as I looked out the window at the Sawtooth Mountains and listened to the Salmon River sing me its morning song, as it rolled along toward the ocean.  

CS Lewis in “Surprised by Joy” describes joy as the ability to experience God in the little events in daily living. Daily living is not vacation; it is not making love to your beloved under the blue sky in a tepee.  But it is being mindfully awake as life passes through your body.  Have you ever thought about how we are constantly taking life in with each of our senses?  As our heart goes on beating, our ears are busy hearing, our smeller is busy smelling, our eyes are busy seeing, our tasters are busy tasting and our feelers are busy touching.  But how often are we awake to all that is going on?  And more importantly, how often do we notice all that is pure joy?  

As I sit here now, I see my stepson fishing in shorts and sandals in the middle of the river ... what a beautiful sight.  I sit on a rocking swing and feel the summer breeze kiss my shoulders, face and chest.  The sight I see is God's landscape barely touched by human invention ... and it is beautiful in its summer's glory.  But this is also the place that has only 30 nights a year above freezing and is near uninhabitable in the middle of the winter. Life, like Stanely, Idaho, has its moments that feel uninhabitable ... yet even in those moments, seasons, life can be surprised by joy.  

What are your stories of being surprised by joy in the midst of your winters, in the midst of your life's hassles?  How do you wake yourself up from the slumber of your agenda to notice the whiffs of joy gently finding their way into your busy life?  In the midst of expansive joy comes the reminder that a life worth living is a life committed to appreciating the whispers and gifts of joy that kiss our life everyday.  May you be kissed often ... and may you notice each gentle gift.  

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