Joy in the Ordinary

Posted by on Feb 8, 2018 in Articles | 2 comments

 

“You have put gladness in my heart…” Psalm 4:7a

 

 

It’s snowing – again – still – as usual (for this time of the year).  It would be pretty if we hadn’t already seen 250” of snowfall this season.  After a time, you feel claustrophobic and restless.  Each “trip” through the house has included looking out the windows to see if the snow is slowing down.  It hasn’t.  If anything, it keeps getting heavier. 

 

“Help me to see the beauty, Lord,” I sigh as I turn from the bedroom window, the laundry basket seemingly heavier than when I first picked it up.

 

Most of the morning I did more trudging than walking from chore to chore.  I finally made my way back to my office to write and almost left the blinds closed so that I didn’t have to see the snow falling.  I decided even a sliver of sunlight is better than no sunlight at all.  So, the blinds are open.  I must admit it IS a little brighter in here.  A bird flew by the window (or was it being blown around by the wind? It was hard to tell.)  A squirrel, cheeks puffed with seed, scampered across the neighbor’s yard and into the trees, taking shelter from the wind and blowing snow.

 

“Keep looking for the beauty, Eileen,” I reminded myself during a writing break, my coffee cup in need of a refill.  The snow was falling harder, pelting the windows, and making the house across the street look like a shadow in the distance.

 

I stopped at the French doors in the living room and strained my eyes to see the trees in the corner of our yard.  A break in the wind allowed a quick glimpse of God’s artistry.  There is a strange beauty in snow blanketing the branches of pine trees.  “Thank you, Lord,” I whispered.

 

Turning from the windows, I noticed my peace lily.  The plant is huge.  It started as a little plant in a dish garden.  I separated the plants years ago, and it is the only one that survived.  It has grown so large that it fills a floor pot.  It rarely blossoms any more, most of the plant’s energy going into its numerous leaves.

 

It’s blossoming.  Despite the dark days, little sunlight to be had, a flower is pushing its way through the leaves.  One lovely white “feather” of a blossom is coming to life.  I smiled at the beauty and was overwhelmed with joy.  Joy because of a flower…

 

It isn’t easy to look for good when things aren’t so good – whether it’s something as simple as the weather or something as tragic as losing a loved one.  God never promises us that life will be easy or care-free.  Problems will come.  Tragedies will occur.  People will get sick.  Finances will become strained.  Rain will fall.  Winds will blow.  And, if you live in Northern New York, snow will be a constant companion for several months out of the year.  What God DID promise is His joy and peace if we will keep our eyes on Him.  “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3

 

I have three friends who recently lost spouses to cancer.  They watched their loved ones deteriorate over the span of several months.  I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that they asked God the “why” questions, prayed for miracles, and did all they could to make their husbands’/wife’s final days as comfortable as possible.  I have to say though, I marvel at their ability to see something good during and after those terrible months.  They have allowed the simplest things – flowers, birds, gentle rains, the laughter of their grandchildren – to bring them joy.

 

Do they hurt because of the loss of their loved ones?  Most definitely.  They have experienced unimaginable pain and heartbreak.  They have chosen, however, to keep their eyes on the Lord, to see each of the little natural treasures in creation as God’s way of saying “I’m still here.  I love you.”

 

I believe part of keeping your mind on God includes looking for His blessings in the little things.  Some days those little things are the birds, squirrels, and something as simple as a flower brightening a dreary day.  Keeping our eyes on the Lord will help to find joy in the ordinary things of life, whatever the season and weather.

 

2 Comments

  1. Eileen, your gentle words are soothing to the weary soul.

    • Thank you, Diane.

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