Joy can mean different things to different people. For me, one kind of joy is the quiet realization that this is a good moment, maybe even a good day. Indoors it could be a tiny baby trying to hold his head up, a dad reading to his small daughters or the sight of beautiful aged hands, wrinkled and veined.
Very often, for me, this sense of joy comes from my connection to the world outdoors. It might be my garden, when a plant I had forgotten about blooms. As I walk it might be leaves bursting from buds in spring, or red oak leaves against a blue sky in autumn.
Today I realized that this sense of joy needs to be nourished. If I don’t feed it, it gets weaker and harder to achieve. In spring I have to look to see which buds are about to burst. If I don’t pay attention I’ll probably miss them. In autumn I might have to drive a few extra blocks to see those glorious red oak leaves. In winter I need to follow the pattern of frost on grass.
I suppose that hunting for joy may be self-defeating in a way, but it can’t hurt to poke through the dead leaves in December to see if any bulbs are poking through the ground yet. It helps to take note where the wild rose bush is, so I spot the first bloom next summer. It’s good to scan the sky to see if the first swallow has returned yet.
Whatever the lift I get from seeing a wild honeysuckle, or poppies by the roadside or bees drunk on my lavender I have to remember to savour the moment, to remind myself that this feeling is joy. If I feel this tiny moment deeply I can slowly train myself to find and feel more moments like it. Eventually I will increase the amount of joy in my life by exercising and nurturing the ability to find it.
Perhaps it works like debits and credits in the financial world. If you build your joy assets in the good times, then you are better equipped to face the bad times. You will have joy, and the ability to find more joy, no matter what.
This morning I found a small cluster of blackberries freshly washed by the rain. Very late in the season, but very juicy. Joy!