Friday, May 23, 2014

Happiness Along the Way - Lessons from Peaches and Birds

I've often heard it said that we can find 'happiness along the way'.  For some time that troubled me as it seemed inconsistent with my particular life circumstances and challenges.  I tried to figure out the truth of it and...prepare myself to find that happiness.

Over the years and as I've worked hard to overcome personal trials I've found tidbits of joy.  Once in a while the smell of fresh air or arising in the morning to a beautiful blue sky energized my spirit.

Daily walks along a nice path in the park where I had time to think and be alone as I enjoyed the tall trees and slight breezes was renewing and invigorating.

Hardships were still present, as they often may be, but I was beginning to understand my need to look for things to remind me of God's love and strength.

Wholesome music would teach me by it's melodies and words, a kind smile or pat on the back from a friend or acquaintance would lift me just enough for me to keep going.  Delicious and natural foods enlivened my spirit and my body.  Just the smell of a fresh peach or biet into an in-season apricot (a favorite thing around August) was 'happifying' to my soul.

One day, a few years ago, as I was hurrying to bottle peaches, trying to get them 'done', I heard a distinct voice in my head telling me to 'slow down and ENJOY this experience'.  It sort of shocked me but...I obeyed and had a WONDERFUL experience for the rest of the day.  I don't ever remember having such a peaceful time with peaches before that - even though I'd enjoyed them in the past.  This particular time was a 'spiritual' experience and I almost felt as though I could hear what they peaches were saying to me, something like 'we are here for you to provide for you and to help make you happy.  We find joy in this and hope that you will find joy in us.'

One of my back patio favorites is birds.  I just love them.  I love to hear their early chirps and see them nestle into the ivy on the back of the house to feed their little ones.

So, I hung a bird feeder last year on the back patio just outside the double glass doors.  It gave me and my children a summer full of birds coming to feed.  We could watch them from a short distance and enjoy the pleasure of their free life and their seeming delight in just living.

I've done better at finding Joy in the journey and have realized that it can be present even when we're in distress or having times of trauma.  The beauties of nature, their simple ways, can bless and strengthen and renew us as we continue our journeys.  I think that is their purpose and maybe we'd do well to thank them, and their Maker, from time to time.  Afterall, they were given to 'enliven' our souls and have probably done that even when we weren't paying as much attention as we ought.