Monday, July 28, 2008

Small joys

Commenting on my use of the phrase "small joys" in R&R, reader and fellow blogger Hayden says, "No offense meant, since I do it too - but I wonder why we call these 'small' joys, when intrinsically they offer the most profound soul-ease?"

"Profound soul-ease." Les mots just, and I am keenly grateful for your thoughts, Hayden. I thought hard about characterizing such moments as small joys, and for reasons you suggest:
It seems to me that the celebrated joys (all of the big expensive things) offer much less comfort, less solace than those of calm, relation to nature's other creatures, the natural world that we have (in large) repudiated except as a fantasy resort.
Big-ticket events and celebrations come with an expectation of big payoffs in the joy department. Weddings, island vacations, winning the lottery, tickets to the Superbowl--we plan and anticipate for months. Our anxiety for creating the perfect experience, and the subsequent exhaustion sometimes overwhelms any joy we may accrue by the time the big day arrives.

For me, the truly big joys, the ones that make my heart swell to bursting, tend to be things like the birth of a child; driving down Highway 1 and coming upon a pod of whales feeding, diving, breaching for an hour while we watched from the best possible vantage point; raising my voice in harmony in a friend's living room with two dozen amateur musicians who sing and play for the love of it.

Those are the big joys. At the end of the day, my face aches from smiling and I sleep long and hard and well.

But oh, how I love the small joys: my granddaughter's head falling onto my shoulder, nestled just so against my neck, as she gives in to sleep; looking up from my computer, where I've spent too many hours, to find the moon, full on in the living room window, its magical glow spread across the darkened floor; riding the escalator into the subway to the strains of Mozart performed live by a chamber quartet.

Such are the manna that sustain and nourish us. These are the moments I try to capture on the rare occasions I post to Village of Ordinary. What joys nurture you? Share a few of them here, won't you?


  1. RainforestRobin7:32 AM

    Wow, this move me to tears. Such elegant and beautiful writing. Phew! You really know how to turn a phrase.

    Simple joys for me are endless: The moment my sweetheart walks in the door after work and beems when he see's me, The morning sun glowing through my sheer curtain in the bedroom, The fresh smell of dill and mint in the garden,That first Robin's song in spring, That first daffodil after a long winter, My barefeet on sunwarmed earth or in mud! :), Holding a tiny baby, Laughing with and tumbling with a four year old who loves to play, Sitting in the middle of the desert and counting falling stars, Oh, the list goes on as you so well know. What an absolutely lovely post. Just precious. Add to my list: reading something that comes from someone you've never met, may never meet and it absolutely touches your heart, where you see both your humanity and theirs...and are moved to tears. That is far more joyous that any fireworks.

  2. Small joys... beautiful post idea, Grace.

    Standing outside with the swallows flying about me, or our local bat when the sound starts to set. Twilight glow. The smell before rain. Sharing a joke with another simply with a glance and a smile. hugs. :-)

  3. Lovely post, Grace. Thank you for your kind and loving comments on my journey. It is wonderful souls such as you and Wanda (to name 2 of my sweet sisters/witnesses/ co-seekers) who nourish and sustain me.

    I have been telling people this is a summer of simple pleasures for our family - walks with the dogs, sitting outside, resting, reading, spending time with friends, walking the labyrinth, talking with my sweetheart about what we want our lives to look like "afterwards," etc. I have found these activities to be so much sweeter and more meaningful than manic rushing around trying to cram a hundred events into my summer.

    These are what nurture and sustain.

    Blessed be! Life is good.


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