Sunday, October 16, 2011

Saturated with Joy

Even in the wake of great sorrow, the world is saturated with cause for joy, if we can only open ourselves fully.  p. 12 in the P.S. in The Sad Truth About Happiness by Anne Giardini

This has been sitting in my list of quotes for quite some time.  And today seems the time that it's been waiting for.  In the last week, a family in my church community experienced great sorrow.  That great sorrow extended well into the church community, and beyond, encompassing several different communities.  A family had to bury their 15 year old son, brother, grandson, cousin, and nephew.  It was hard.  BUT there were still signs of joy.  His older sister drew an amazing picture of her brother walking hand in hand with Jesus, heading to heaven with a body that was healed.  His parents were visible pictures of strength for each other as they shared stories about him at the memorial service.  Symbols of hope were passed out after the service.  Tulip bulbs.  Things that look dead, dry, and wrinkled; but which offer the promise of life and colour in the spring.  A very moving thought.
Then last night I went to an evening to raise money to educate women in Somalia.  The speaker was Amanda Lindhout.  She spoke movingly about her experiences in captivity.  One particularly inspiring part of her speech was about when her attitude changed.  God gave her a sense of peace and, despite the horrific circumstances, she began to deliberately take the time to notice the signs of humanity in her captors.  She looked for signs of joy.  She opened herself to that possibility.
These are reminders of just how much God blessed us.  And of just how much we (I) need to open our (my) eyes to see the signs of joy He has given to us.
Here are some more of the signs of joy I have been able to see.
513) a day spent with 2 of my aunts

514) fall colours in the mountains on a sunny day

515) the myriad number of shades of green in the mountains
516) sunlight sparkling on cascading water
517) the invigorating and cleansing aroma of the pine forests
518) the pop of lids on homemade salsa
519) the camaraderie of making salsa together
520) homemade salsa
521) the fresh feeling of a haircut
522) golden hay bales scattered over a golden field
523) the colours of the North Saskatchewan River valley
524) shafts of sunlight breaking through the clouds, creating stairways to heaven
525) sunlight glistening on a pond
526) look of surprise and joy on a mother's face when her daughter comes home to surprise her
527) seeing my grandmother
528) family time
529) celebrating the 50th birthdays of 3 family members
530) teamwork to create brunch
531) sentinel hawk on a dead tree at the side of the highway
532) fences clinging to the undulating hills, adding a lace-like finish
533) picking sweet peas on Oct. 2nd!
534) autumn glory in the Bow River valley
535) arriving home after a weekend away
536) safe travels on a busy highway
537) deep orange pumpkins
538) hugs from children
539) laughter
540) picking vine-ripened tomatoes in my own backyard
541) the smell of a vine-ripened tomato
542) the taste of a vine-ripened tomato (especially right after it's picked)
543) clean laundry
544) cards and drawings from students
545) borrowing a book from a student
546) sipping hot peppermint tea while rain patters on the roof
547) snow-capped mountains tinged pink in the early morning and flanked by a carpet of autumn gold and green
548) the musty damp smell of the woods in the fall
549) a long stroll in one of my favourite places
550) playing with my camera, finding glimpses of God in the fall beauty
551) having my parents stay overnight
552) a carpet of golden leaves on the grass
553) loving greeting from children as I enter church
554) loving, encouraging words from an aunt
555) breakfast lovingly prepared by family and enjoyed with family
556) delightful Indonesian meal prepared by an uncle and his wife, and enjoyed with family
557) a niece who really wanted me to meet her boyfriend - knowing that I am important to her
558) the delight shown by the recipient of a gift
559) a walk in one of my favourite spots
560) walking hand in hand with a young girl and bursting into the same song at the same time
561) giggling with her after that happened
562) the prayers of children
563) watching a family support loved ones in a time of loss
564) watching the sky change as the sun rises - pink clouds, bright orangish horizon - promises of the day to come
565) watching a harvest moon rise - full and orangish
566) the beautiful and powerful tribute parents gave to their special son the day they buried his body
567) the visible love for each other and for Connor as they shared the tribute
568) the symbolism of orange tulip bulbs to remember that special son - something that looks dead, but has the promise of life, just like Connor and his new life with Jesus
569) a sea of orange as a community honoured Connor
570) times when children, on their own accord, offer to help each other
571) completing a job that had loomed over me
572) encouraging words of appreciation from a former student, one I hadn't seen in years
573) words of encouragement and support from parents of students
574) the promise of a weekend with time to refresh and renew
575) walking through crunchy fall leaves
576) the delight of children as they jump into piles of leaves
577) countless hugs in the hallway at school
578) time to plan with my colleague
579) administrators who demonstrate care, compassion, and creativity - giving of themselves
580) the mountain silhouette behind hills ablaze with the gold of autumn, bring a smile and a lift as a very tired me drove away from work after a tiring (but good) week
581) time with a good friend, doing the things we love, but more importantly, just being
582) spontaneity
583) playing with fabric and finding a combination that is both fun and attractive
584) the colours and textures of foods at the market
585) peppers
586) squashes and pumpkins
587) crisp apples
588) the inspirational story of Amanda Lindhout, a woman who suffered much and who is not serving the country of those who hurt her
589) the stories of women who seek to improve their lives and the lives of others around them
590) the ease of obtaining groceries for the week
591) still picking sweet peas on Oct. 15th
592) the gurgle of water over stones
593) a Sunday afternoon walk in one of my favourite places
594) witnessing the heartfelt and moving profession of faith of a delightful young woman
595) the satisfaction of making 10 lunches to put in the freezer
596) laughing aloud as I listened to Stuart McLean and the Vinyl Cafe
597) a weekly chat with my mom
598) the rings of growth on tree trunks
599) The tranquil feeling of sitting on a bench, watching little fish and hearing the rippling water and the "silence"
600) being together with all of my siblings