When are you happiest? Do you have moments of contentment that are so pure that they can only be described as joy? I do. But here’s the thing: I’ve noticed that joy comes to be when I’m…well, not when I’m chasing it.
Let me explain. I recently had a birthday that amounted to a good week of special lunches, meals, gatherings, gifts and desserts—many blessings. On the actual day, I had a personal day so I didn’t go to work. I got to sleep in, browse around stores I don’t normally have time to go in, share a delicious lunch with a good friend, and indulge in the mani/pedi I’d been putting off for several weeks. It was pretty awesome. It definitely qualified as a “happy birthday.”
Then, this morning, as I was cooking bacon and my golden retriever brushed against my knee and I was in the moment of making “Sunday breakfast” for my husband and thinking about church and what the day would hold, joy and pure contentment washed over me. I have this very human tendency to chase joy in life’s big events—a dream vacation, an amazing holiday, a milestone achievement. While all of those things are amazing and I like them, I find more and more that joy finds me most often in the mundane details of everyday life—turning in to my driveway and noticing the pear trees heavy with fruit, the first cup of coffee in the morning, observing the changing of the seasons.
I know it sounds cliché, but if we don’t make an effort to notice these things, we probably won’t. At least, I won’t. I tend to note the big events and accomplishments—even to do’s marked off my list, but my husband catching my attention and telling me to look at the ducks flying across the sky? I love those moments, and too often I forget them.
Noticing beauty, experiencing life with all of our senses may not lead us to achieving our next big career goal, but they give us the contentment and a peace that we are seeking—even if we don’t realize it.