What happens when you decide to choose joy, and your week starts off horribly wrong?
Somehow I manage to wake up more tired than when I went to bed. There’s no milk in the house to put in my coffee.
Arden wakes up sobbing because she didn’t see the red moon last night. She “stayed up” in a chair by the window, and we promised to wake her up when the moon was red. We did. We brought her out to the chilly porch, and talked to her, and turned her around, and keep talking, and she mumbled a bit and opened her eyes and kept falling back asleep. She doesn’t remember. Now, all she knows this morning is that she didn’t get to see the red moon. She’s crying bitter tears of disappointment, I’m crying too, then the two-year old starts.
Two of out two pigs are supposed to be on their way to the butcher today. After wrestling, wrangling, multiple escapes, stepped on toes, and general pig stubbornness, there’s only one pig in the trailer. Jack’s apple fell in the pig muck, and he’s more upset about that than the fact that he nearly got plowed over by an animal eight times his weight. At the end of it all I’ve got pig poop smeared up my legs and there are a dozen burs stuck to the back pockets of my jeans. I need another coffee.
It’s going to be a long day.
How do you choose joy when Monday morning brings everyone to tears?
At the Rend Collective concert on Saturday night, amid riotous singing and dancing, they paused to say joy was a spiritual discipline. It’s something we need to cultivate. It’s a choice. I knew I needed to choose it again. For too long this giant of discouragement has been looming large over what I thought was going to be a happy season. I’ve been living in a shadow, where I know the light exists but somehow it just can’t get to me. I’ve been eclipsed.
I was given a beautiful painting earlier this year. It’s called “Choosing Light.”* It meant something then, at the beginning of the year. And now on this wearisome Monday, I go into the living room, pull back the curtains, and stand before it. The sun isn’t immediately visible in the brush strokes. But it’s there, behind the clouds. And if I look closely, I can see its golden presence, the promise that if I reach out for it, it will shine back.
So I determine, again, to choose joy.
As the kids are waiting in the car to go on the ride to the butcher with Daddy, with just one pig in the trailer, I make funny faces at the window. I press my face right up on the glass, squishing it into all kinds of contortions which little children find hilarious. There could be bird poop on this window for all I know, but I don’t care. I’m going to make myself a little ridiculous if it means putting a smile on their faces. I stand back to wipe the drool off the glass. I can see my reflection. Sure, a little tried, maybe a little harried. But I’m smiling.
I can do this, even when the week starts off all wrong. I won’t be eclipsed. I’m choosing light. I’m choosing joy.
* "Choosing Light" by Katy Rose. See more of her beautiful work and the goodwill living it supports on her website.