Thursday, February 21, 2013

When You Have to Make Some Happy

This morning I walked outside and picked 5 oranges from our tree.
I came back in, washed them, pulled out carrots and greens from the fridge, a cucumber, and a lemon.
I piled it all on the counter and put together the parts of my juicer.
It requires a little elbow grease and patience.
I had to peel the oranges, get a knife out to trim the carrots, and cut the lemon.
Meanwhile, there were eggs boiling on the stove, and toast toasting on the griddle.
And, my 2 littlest people had pulled up chairs because they are still enthralled with our new juicer.
They were in my way.

I had to reach around them, pull the knife out of Davy's hands, remind him not to touch the juicer, make them get down while I poured the boiling water from the eggs into the sink, I had stand just right so they could see the juice pour out of the juicer.
And to be quite honest, I was a little annoyed by their presence.
I wasn't in the best mood.

Despite a great start, yesterday grew difficult and ended badly.
None of it was anything extraordinarily bad-- just the kind of things that make a day less enjoyable, and then make it easier to indulge in a bad attitude.
Do you find that the little problems are more often the ones that bring you down?
When I find myself facing something truly difficult or big, I call upon God, friends, and the remembrance of comfort in hard times past.
But these little things I try to get through on my own, wallowing for a while, and then pressing on, and not really growing, or learning, or changing from them.

I stepped back from the juicer to make everyone's eggs, and when I was done, I took a minute and I looked at the two of them.
The sun shone through the windows, lighting up my kitchen like it does every morning.
I love that.
And I loved the way the two of them were so thrilled to watch me push oranges and kale down the mouth of the juicer until the muddy juice poured out the bottom.
I can learn from them.

There are a lot of little annoyances in my life.
But there are also a lot of little joys.
I remembered this quote and how much it resonated with me the first time I read it.
"The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things."
My life is pretty full of common things.
Dirty dishes, dirty diapers, dirty laundry.
Crumbs to be swept, meals to be made, manners to teach.
At times I want to run away.
I just grow weary with the never-endingness of it all.
Do you?
But then there is that moment when I step back and I choose to look at the beautiful things that make up my world: old books, coffee, flowers on the table, blossoms on my peach tree, kids sprawled on the floor drawing, my baby boy giving me sticky kisses, sunrises, sunsets, and many more.
And I remember it is not my circumstances that make me happy.
It is what I choose to do with them.
It is not the things I have, or don't have, that make me happy.
It is the people who inhabit my life, and the way we live life together that make me happy.
Sometimes, in the midst of life's little problems, it is hard for me to remember these things.

I am grateful to live with 4 little people who find such excitement and joy in the smallest, most common thing, and therefore make it easier to remember.
Because I'll need help remembering.
The baby is still going to knock carrot pulp all over the floor, and the 4 year old is going to spill her juice, and the moment I sit down to eat the 6 year old is going to say, "I'm still hungry, Mom.", and I still have to take everyone to Pep Boys to charge the car battery that died last night, and the windows are still covered with snot and dirty finger prints.
My life is still happening.
I'll have lots of opportunities to seek joy today.
And this is the mindset I want to have, regardless of what comes my way:
"This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!" (Psalm 118:24)

Wishing you joy today.
Love from,


meg + andy said...

gosh! you always say exactly what my head and heart already feels or needs to hear...its kind of amazing. but i guess we do both have 4 kids and are at home with them all it shouldn't really surprise me that i feel your pain. ;) anyway, thank you for this great encouragement. i needed it today!

Mommy Tam-Tam said...

Greta - Great Post! Thank you for reminding us to draw on God with the little things too!

bcyncere said...

YES. Yes, I do. This brought tears. Thank you, Greta.

Anonymous said...

Just what I had to read this morning :-) my husband and I were sitting at the kitchen table last night, tired, him from working 12 hours, me from running after our 2 little ones all day long with my big belly (#3). We talked about how blessed we are with 2 healthy kids and how much fun they are. But it's so hard to remember this in the craziness of the day, to truly appreciate those small magical, fast fleeing moments ... while I wanna pull my hair out since they just decorated our newly painted wall with crayons :-) Thank you for reminding me how to do it!!!

Shauna Reed said...

well this is just what i needed today.
thank you for sharing this moment greta.
what sweet little mess makers they are!
i am completely tracking with you on your lovely thoughts and am glad to not be alone on this messy beautiful journey.