Ordinary, everyday joy.
This post was written on May 11th, 2015
Much like Mr. Lennon, I was a child, a small freckled girl of 7 when I realized that my priority in life was always going to be happiness; love.
True happiness is far more important to me than status or money or even material or societal success. What's the use of money, if you aren't happy in the life it has given you.
This past weekend I was maid of honor for a friend of mine up in Canada.
After the ceremony, one of the groomsman, leaning back against the counter in the church kitchen, surveyed me with his bold eyes and told me:
"You're a woman who just wants to have fun."
He stated it, like a truth.
"It's your top priority in life. You just want to have fun."
I looked back at him in my yellow bridesmaid dress and bare feet, feeling slightly perplexed and just a little insulted.
'Just wanting to have fun' felt like such a frivolous branding for a life that I do my best to invest my deepest self in, with all of my integrity, my kindness, and my courage.
I looked back at him, this man I had met just the day before and tried to think of a way to explain the irksomeness of how he'd just assessed me. But I couldn't quite find the words to do it justice.
Because it is true, I do want to have fun; but my daily search for joy and meaning is somehow inexplicably deeper and wider, more powerful, than just those five little words.
I sit in the Denver airport, leaning on my suitcase and people watching, awaiting the arrival of my boyfriend and the thrum of my old car against the warm colorado sunshine. I have just traveled what feels like a million miles, but what is more like 2,500 of them.
Sitting here, my backpack against my legs in the privacy that only airports and strangers can lend, I find myself again, as always, fascinated by the stories of these strangers. The tales that live in the subtle body language of people.
I watch as an older man's frame leans ever so slightly towards the terminal, impatient, as he waits for his wife, who stands, gray haired and motionless on the pavement with her fully grown son, his tailored suit wrinkled without care as his arms hold her tightly, a long hug goodbye.
Sometimes I think we forget that it's these tiny moments that make up our entire lives.
Witnessing the ordinary moments of strangers has got me thinking.
That groomsman in Canada was partially right. I am a woman prioritizing something, something that could be deemed beautiful, or odd, or selfish.
I squint my eyes toward the broad stretch of Arrivals pavement and watch a flight attendant chatting with a co-worker while her husband patiently loads her neat, black roller bag into the back of his white pickup, carefully taking the purse string from her arm while she continues chatting; I notice something that strikes a chord within me: Her eyes never meet his. There was no hug hello, no delight at the others company, no small gratitude for another day that has returned each to the other. Their interaction is one of habit, routine.
We are faced with a thousand moments everyday.
Moments spent taking out the garbage. Deciding what to make for dinner. What to wear to the lake this weekend. Moments spent checking facebook. Standing beneath black umbrellas in the rain, smelling the fresh wet pavement and the faint scent of the man standing next to you. Moments spent watching the fear in your best friends eyes as she finally lets out the words "I'm pregnant."
These moments, precious and mundane. Exquisite, painful and breathtaking.
We are all faced with these moments, everyday.
That's all this life really is. It's all we're really given. Just these little moments.
Everyday I do my best to be aware of the moments I am given. Mundane or otherwise; I try to continually choose -the difficult and satisfying work- of seeking joy.
I think that is why gratitude is such an integral piece in this life of mine. Because it is an instant portal to a deep kind of happiness; being grateful for what we already have before us, makes it matter that much more. Lending us a sense of joy for a flawed and messy life that is also beautiful and imperfect.
That groomsman, watching me, surmised that I live my life just wanting to have fun, and yet in reality, I am seeking something deeper; a wholehearted kind of everyday joy. And yet, I don't blame him for his misunderstanding.
I have no idea how much time I have, in this life.
But I do know that it is an everyday choice to choose people and situations that are good for the soul, that bring each of us closer to the wild heart of Love and of deep Joy.
And ordinary moments, like dancing around in my underwear this morning, alone and barefoot in an empty apartment in New York. Like taking a quiet moment to look into the depths of my love's blue eyes and realize how blessed I am to be laying next to him. Or even something as simple as a midnight bowl of ice cream. They each impact me, shaping me and this life I am weaving between the gray dawns and the midnight hours.
Life. All of these moments are so fleeting. All here for the right now. All uncapturable. But that imperfect beauty is what makes these moments so profound and so perfect.
In the ways we never know how many of them we have left to us. In the ways that this, right here, really is the only moment we know we get to have; breathing in the flawed, imperfect and tangled world we reside in, in this ordinary, extraordinary, wild life.