Sadness has made me more aware of moments of joy. And when those moments appear, they tend to shine magnificently bright, like rays of light piercing through the the trees, a second or two stopped in time to allow for the complete absorption of the occasion.
These moments, had I not journeyed on the path I have trodden, would have seemed rather insignificant really. The absence of joy over the last month has left me longing for that state again and I didn't realize how much I had missed it until it began to trickle in through seemingly ordinary events that were sweetly covered in God's grace.
Baking Monkey Bread
First, I must say, I HATE COOKING & BAKING. Thus, doing one of these things and smiling usually can never happen at the same time. But, monkey bread is something that I always made with my grandmother and then, when she could no longer bake it herself, I made it for her with joy. Last night when I was making it for my Bible study girls, it was without tedium. Shocking! As I sliced the biscuits, melted the butter, and mixed up the sugar and cinnamon (are you getting hungry yet?), I just felt light. A slow, simple smile played upon my lips and pressed into my heart. Sweetness! It's amazing to have a memory of a lost loved one and actually focus on the fullness of the moment instead of the loss of the person. And the best part? My house smelled just like Grannie's on any day that monkey bread had graced the oven.
The Graciousness of my Eldest Daughter
Abby is in Kindergarten and since the beginning of school, she has talked about taking a school bus (she lives too close to the school to ride one every day) for her field trip. Today was to be the big day and it started with vomiting at 5:00 in the morning. When I suddenly awoke at 5 am and noticed my husband was not in bed with me, I knew that the stomach virus that hit Hannah on Saturday was now coursing through Abby. But I prayed, Lord! You are letting me down here! Do you know how much stuff I have to do today?? Ugh! Expecting a tirade of tears at the news that she would not be going to the farm and a full day of meltdowns, I was radically impressed by her demeanor and behavior. She accepted her fate, not with resignation, but hope. Can we snuggle on the couch and watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse? I have never seen her handle disappointment this well and I can only think that it was the grace of God, a miracle, and blessing. All day, I was watching to see what God was going to uncover and how He was going to bless us through her being at home. My absolute favorite moment of the day was eating breakfast outside with the girls. Abby hadn't thrown up again at all since the first incident and she was BEGGING me to let her have some monkey bread (sorry Bible study girls!). She asked me, Did you make this, Mommy? How did you make it? I asked her, Do you remember making it with Grannie? She nodded an emphatic oh, yes! She then proceded to rattle off all the ingredients, quite pleased at what a bit of jogging of the memory can evoke. The conversation switched directions after that, but for a few moments the three of us, under the canopy of a beautiful day, reminisced about good times with Grannie with nary a tear and only smiles.
New Facial Products
Okay, this one is just silly, but worth mentioning nonetheless. Today I used my new skincare products. My new face wash completely smells like the air at the Coral Sands -- the beach hotel that we have stayed at every summer with Grannie. The last couple of days I have been thinking about when we go on vacation there in July and I have had such a hard time not tearing up at the thought that she will not be there upon our arrival. Today, though, I just felt excitement and blessed that there have been several instances when I have smelled her presence. I know this sounds weird, but the other day when I was running outside, for quite a few strides, I could breath deeply and I could smell her. I am not sure why I associate smells with her so much, but any time I encounter them, I immediately feel safe and at home -- how I have always felt with her.
Anyway, a day that could have been awful turned out to be wonderful. Abby's sickness quickly abated and perhaps quite a bit of the darkness surrounding my soul was pierced by His light -- a process of rediscovering the power of joy all over again.