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A Sucker-Punch of Joy

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“Joy is not made to be a crumb.”

~ Mary Oliver

Our lives sometimes seem to pass by in a blur of hurried, ordinary moments.

Rushed school-day mornings, bedtime books, a sinkful of dishes to do and laundry awaits.

I sit in front of my laptop at night, all too often tired and bemoaning the things I didn’t complete.

Yesterday, while holding his pet lizard—an ordinary moment—my son looked up at me with such pride and awe over this beautiful pet, and I felt engulfed with the specialness of those fleeting seconds. Holiness, if you will allow me to call it that.

I felt so suddenly blessed and full-to-the-brim with thankfulness at this crazy life.

Those moments that snatch your breath, just for a second. A sucker-punch of joy.

I have never belonged to a church or a place of worship.

But my life, my ordinary, simple life has become one.

We may stumble from moment to moment with all the muck in between, but the holy moments make everything worthwhile.

I challenge myself—and you, if you wish—to create more. Reach your arms out farther and farther. Let light fill your cracks just a tiny bit more, every day.

Fall in love with the imperfections in your life. Accept your mismatched outfit (laundry fail) for the quirky glory that it shows the world. Embrace the crabbiness of your bus driver. Listen, truly listen, to the story about work your partner is trying to tell you, again.

I am as guilty as anyone of letting days slip by unheeded, of falling into old habits, foul moods.

But all I can do, over and over, is forgive myself this; and then try with all my might to be awake for more of those sacred, lizard-admiring moments in life.

Re-live them, and look for more—the sunshine on a stranger’s hair, the first sip of strong, dark, coffee on a sleepy morning, an email containing just the words we needed to hear. A funny conversation we overhear as we walk to work.

The extraordinary is everywhere.

Find it. Catch the moments, and put them somewhere safe to go back to on long days or sleepless nights.

“If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be. We are not wise, and not very often kind. And much can never be redeemed. Still life has some possibility left. Perhaps this is its way of fighting back, that sometimes something happened better than all the riches or power in the world. It could be anything, but very likely you notice it in the instant when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.”

~ Mary Oliver

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