Life keeps going. It keeps moving. Whether we want it to or not, onward the moments go. So much so it can feel like we are always seeking and yearning for a happiness and joy that just always seems to be two-steps too far ahead of us.
Still we stand trying and striving to embrace our present, all the while moving - always moving - to the rhythm that does not stop.
Did I laugh today? Did I smile? Was I happy? Did I have moments?
Joy. Sorrow. Happiness. Suffering. They all are going to come. They always will come. How or when, we never know, but one thing we can trust is that these experiences will come.
This past Pentacost Sunday our priest shared a beautiful homily that awakened my little heart in a good way. A truth was shared and a goodness was revealed that had me smiling.
Our priest talked of so many things but what stood out to me was when he described joy. When he described and defined something I know I struggle to exude only because I struggle to truly comprehend all that it is, my heart sighed joyfully.
When you don't fully understand something, how can you own it? Exude it? Experience it? Truly? I've known that I am happy and content. And, I've known that I've experienced joy in my life. But this, this brought joy to the forefront in a way it had never been before.
"What is happiness? Happiness is when what you want or expect to happen, happens.
You apply for a job you want and get it, you're happy. You ask a girl out and she says yes, you're happy. You have a job and are able to provide for your family, you're happy.
Joy. Joy is unexpected.
You forgive someone who has hurt you and experience an overwhelming peace - joy. You embrace and endure a suffering only to be relieved of it in time - joy. You struggle through the young years of parenthood but are smothered in hugs and kisses throughout the day, unprompted - joy."
I had never taken the time to understand Joy other than when I would experience it in other holy men and women. They've got it! They have a joy that is so infectious I pray that I will someday be able to share that goodness with others too! Now, after listening to Father and letting his words sink in, I know I've had my fair share of good ol' joy in my life.
"The Apostles were filled with happiness and joy the moment the Lord appeared to them in their midst and through locked doors. Now they were ready to walk out and begin the greatest adventure of their lives."
In fact, this past weekend, my boys were gifted two guitars from their grandparents. My oldest loves all things music related and I love this about him. His excitement had been through the roof from the moment my parents told him they bought a guitar for him and his brother. He would ask daily, "Grandpa and nana here yet? Did they get me a guitar? They have a guitar for me, mama!"
We have music in our home everyday. We love Matt Maher, Audrey Assad, and now this new little band we stumbled upon through a playlist. This group has brought a lot of smiles and good feels around here. It's the Rend Collective band, not Catholic, but sharing beauty that is filled to the brim with goodness. There are two songs in particular that are my boys' current favorites - Second Chance and My Lighthouse.
After opening their gifts, the boys wanted me to play these two songs for them so that they could play along with their new guitars.
What I witnessed brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. My oldest sat nearby the video and with the most sincere of efforts played this song as well as his little three year-old, untrained-self, could.
I was caught off guard by their sincere efforts. They surprised me with their delight. By their love and goodness. Unexpectedly, joy made it's way into my heart and it was good. So so good.
"For me prayer is a surge of the heart, it is a simple look towards Heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy."
-St. Therese of Lisieux
The thing is, had I not been able to embrace the birth of both of these boys - the trial of it, the suffering of it - I would never have known how good the joy in all the little moments to follow would feel. How they would pop up unexpectedly, every. single. day. Had I not experienced severe back pain last year, I wouldn't have been able to know the joy that it is to be able to get up and out of bed without pain.
I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.
There's joy to be found in trial and in all good present moments as well. It's not either, or. It's both! All have their worth because He came. Because He died. And, because He rose.
What has brought you joy recently? How has He surprised you today?