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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Watching to See a Twinkle of Joy


He wants me to see him do a flip on our backyard trampoline, but he doesn't stick the landing on the first try.

"Wait, Mom! That's wasn't it," he quickly shouts (He knows me). "Watch!"

Look up from your phone. Stop the hamster wheel in your brain that's telling you to rotate the laundry, sign up for flag football, and organize the library...again.

It's hot. The trampoline springs squeak, and my son attempts another acrobatic stunt while I force myself to keep my feet planted on the concrete patio. To command my attention on this new physical feat. 

Stand still. Keep watching. You can do this.

He finishes his amazing trick and immediately jerks his face up to observe my reaction.

"Did you see it, Mom?"

Okay. Phew. Yes.

I clap. I smile, relieved and genuinely happy for him, but edgy to get onto the next thing. 

"Nice one!" I offer. He turns away to keep jumping. Proud. Accomplished. Satisfied. 

I spin around and head towards the house. A little proud as well (I didn't miss it), but not feeling as accomplished. There's still more to do.

Finally free to answer the call of the hamster wheel, I'm obsessed, like a woman grabbing at a cupcake to feed a sugar craving (I probably skipped lunch). 

This will make me feel better, I believe. 

And I irrationally convince myself that if I hurry, today will be the day that it all gets done and the lists will be completely crossed off.  

THEN, I will feel accomplished. 
And THEN I will give myself permission to enjoy more. 
But only then.

I think, Just let me finish this. 
Hold on. I'll be right there. 
Can that wait until later? 
After this is done, I will be able to do that.

But it's NEVER all done, is it? A finished project, maybe, that takes longer than you think. And later? When will THAT be?

It only takes five (however excruciating) minutes to pause from the compulsion to be busy and watch the trampoline show.  But it's such a struggle to discern the important from the urgent- to balance the meaningful and the mundane.  

Work HAS to be done, but so does life. So does love. 

Sometimes, it's true that you can love the work too.  It can bring contentment too. But it can also drain more energy than you were expecting, steal more time before you realize what's happening.

The occasions for spotting joy trickle in at the most random times. They don't call and set up appointments. They don't glare. They twinkle.  

The  windows of opportunity- to snap a mental Polaroid- open up intermittently in the hours you work and play. While you're making the bed or buckling a kids' seat belt. While you're answering emails or filling up the grocery cart.


https://pixabay.com/id/bima-sakti-batuan-malam-lanskap-916523/
To catch sight of a shooting star, you have to keep your eyes peeled. And you have to be aware of the full sky at the same time, because you don't know in what direction it will come from. Blink and you'll miss it. But wait, there's probably another one.  This could be a meteor shower. Or not.

Oh!  But when you see it! 
That open window. 
That back flip.
That star. 
THAT'S THE STUFF= joy.

Not the list. Not the hamster wheel.  Not some kind of perfect timing.  

Just a soul expectant and a heart observant.

Let everyone else race around in circles. You can stop. Just for a minute. Look up and keep watching. That's your life.

Isn't it lovely?
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