The things that raise my spirits are small and often considered insignificant.
It was my children who taught me how to live in the present moment with joy. I couldn’t help but learn how to live as a child of God because I was surrounded by a crew of little people who greeted each morning with wonder and awe.
Gratefulness is the key to spiritual joy, no matter how little we think we have in the eyes of modern society. In fact, St. Teresa of Avila once said she “thanked God for the things she did NOT own.”
When Joy Eludes Us
The fleeting dream which eludes many of us is happiness, never mind joy. Most of us tend to run around, miserable in our insular little worlds, only catching glimpses of the world around us through dung-colored glasses.
The solution to our dilemma is easy.
A therapist would charge you hundreds of dollars to teach you how to do this, calling this method cognitive therapy. I will give you this key to real spiritual joy for free.
I discovered this secret after years of mothering my tiny children. They taught me to take my eyes off my exhaustion and to take delight in the plethora of tiny details all around me. Little kids are born with a sense of wonder and the ability to discover joy in little things. My daughters retain an appreciation for detail; they all remember the little things.
A friend of mine once asked Mary, when she was about six, what she liked most about Christmas. She replied immediately, “The pineapple.”
My daughter’s answer astounded Martha.
Similarly, one evening before dinner Allison now a young adult, said, “I always remember the fresh smell of clean sheets every week.” Such a small thing, yet a child, with a heart full of gratitude, takes great pleasure from it.
A few years ago, one daughter was recounting how pleased she was with a plant in her garden. Realizing she was enjoying such a small thing she laughed, “Oh no, I sound just like Mum.”
The things that raise my spirits are usually small and most people would not consider them significant. For example, one Christmas I was very tired and only one gift brought me genuine joy. It was hand-crocheted dishcloths from my friend Cathy … dishcloths, beautifully made, colorful, something I used a hundred times a day.
Perhaps this is one of the blessings of a large family; free cognitive therapy from a crew of little people who greeted each morning with wonder, awe and joy.