One Thousand Gifts and realized my neglected daily practice of seeking joy amidst the mundane had left the ledger of my gratitude knee-deep in the red.For years I'd filled The Happy Book with hundreds of entries, but as I grew older and the spin-top of my existence began to whirl, this routine was flung into the abyss of too much to do and not enough time. Yet in the post-birth haze when multi-tasking became a necessity, I unwrapped Ann Voskamp’s
I dug into the drawers of our coffee table for a small spiral bound notebook and a pen, and with the brushstroke of number one -- Breeze blowing through open windows while hay is being cut -- the art of joy-seeking resumed. Only at number twenty-two -- My daughter sighing in her sleep -- I am already astounded how this practice flings wide the beauty that was before my to-do list shuttered eyes.
This daily grasping for joy reminds me of the plant I placed inside a birdcage and set on a dresser on the back portion of the nursery. I watered it weekly, but as my infant daughter’s limbs grew, the plant shriveled to half its size. The leaves that could curl around the wires of the cage and reach toward the light survived, but those that remained shadowed by the bars crinkled to parchment. Knowing it was about to die, I ditched my Pinterest attempt, drew the plant out of the birdcage, and placed it on the kitchen windowsill.
The three times a day I stand at the sink washing dishes, watching that plant soak in the healing power of light reminds me of the healing power of this daily seeking of joy. If we burrow our roots deep in bitterness, we become like those leaves shaded by the cage: our spiritual and physical -- for a merry heart doeth good like a medicine -- growth is stunted until we are just a sarcastic husk of what we once were. But if we daily saturate ourselves with joy, we will soon wind past the bars of our cage and catch up to those who have already stretched toward the Light.
23. The smell of zucchini bread freshly baked.
24. Squabbling hummingbirds.
25. String-bean skinny farmers.
26. The hush of my husband and child asleep.
The numbers of joy are infinite, if we will only count them….