That's present as in "right now" not a gift. But then, it is a gift to be able to live in the present, isn't it? It is a cold, raining and thundering Christmas afternoon here, but an afternoon to be savored, like the ham baking in the oven that will be enjoyed later this evening. Joy is sometimes in the edge of the shadows, just waiting to slip out when one least expects it.
Then, there it is, staring you full in the face, sort of saying "I am always here if you will just look for me."
This morning when I went out to feed the cats, it was foggy and misty, but the tree and the feeders were covered in cardinals--pure joy to see them. One last blossom from the summer flowers, just like an early Christmas present with a burst of red shivered in the breeze--more unexpected joy.
They have been at the feeders all day, throughout the rain, as if they know it is going to freeze tonight and they need to stock up. Every time I pass a window today, it's been a moment of joy, making me smile.
I came in to play with Abby for a while since it's cold and raining and she can't play in the yard. I was trying to get her to sit for a picture, but she was more interested in the treat in my hand. After an hour of chasing her ball and chewing on her toys, she is napping over on her spot, her head resting on top of her toys. Another moment of joy, making me smile.
We did not anticipate getting another dog, and with 4 of them already, we did not really need to add to the family...but here she is anyway--unexpected joy.
I was inspired by the Christmas tree I found in Amory a couple of weeks ago, and said I was going to build one. Yesterday was a beautiful December Christmas Eve, pleasant and sunny. I had saved the pieces from a chest that was in Randy's family for many years. We found it in the barn on the farm, and brought it home. His Auntie said her daughter-in-law had already asked for it, so I took it over. They left it out in the rain to ruin, and then moved into a different house and left it there. We rescued it yet a second time, and I did my best to salvage it. After two moves in Abilene and two in Mississippi though, it finally just gave up. I saved the pieces, intending to do something with them when I could figure out what. More joy, in an unexpected place. There are 5 birds on the tree, each representing a special event.
The bird of happiness was given to me by Ora, with whom I worked for several years.
Last year, Jane sent me this little bird--a wish nest wren. You are supposed to fill the nest with wishes. I think of her and our friendship every day when I see it, hanging from a shelf in my room. Right now, it's on my tree, symbolic of people who matter in my life.
I bought this ornament in Cape Town, South Africa, from the Original T-Bag Company, a cooperative of women who opened a business to make a better life for themselves and their children. I met Jill, the originator of the idea and company, back in 2004, and toured the little workshop where they had just begun the enterprise. Today, they sell online as well as in a shop and I continue to support them by buying from them on every trip to South Africa. That gives me joy, knowing that someone nurtures the creative spirit of women, and that because of that, they are able to do better for their children in trying to undo the terrible effects of apartheid.
Hope...so necessary in our lives from the time of our infancy, when it helps us to believe that the world is a safe place and that our needs will be met....clearly, in the aftermath of not only the past few weeks, but the past years, there are far too many people out there who do not have a sense of hope. I can only imagine that a lack of hope that one's life will ever feel worth living leads someone to such a place of despair. So also are the painful and horrible events committed in wars that are sanctioned by governments, and often supported by people who might feel the greatest grief if the event occurred outside of "war" while the end result is very much the same: stealing joy, stealing lives, stealing people's sense of peace. Surely, we can find other ways to live together.
Nurture people. Give them hope. Create joy wherever you go. Live in peace, be at peace. For the joy of the present, and all the people in my life who give me hope and joy, peace be unto you as we join each other in believing that another world is possible, and necessary.