Friday, October 8, 2010

Enough Joy to Fill a Book

I once read that Thomas Kinkade, well known artist and writer, keeps a “Joy Journal” and highly recommends that others might benefit from doing the same. Mr. Kinkaid wrote: “Life is a grand blessing, but it’s one that is made of tiny and simple joys. Every day, joys abound. It is a matter of perspective. For every trial there is a joy. For every loss there is a gain.”

I was so impressed by those words and the idea of keeping a joy-journal that I started one that very day. The concept is that you write only the things that bring happiness and joy to your life. Nothing bad goes into your Joy Journal! I think of it as a unique and pleasurable way of counting my blessings.

My first entry was about a birds’ nest that was in a tree right outside my living room window.  It was situated on a large limb so close to the window that, from my vantage point, I could look straight into it. First thing each morning, I’d run to the window and check on the three baby robins that were in the nest. Sometimes I’d see them awaken, stretch, and flap their wings, though they weren’t nearly ready to fly. “Testing their wings,” I thought. 

They’d peck at each other a bit, reminding me of human siblings bantering back and forth, and then they’d settle down – beaks open wide – and wait for their mother to provide breakfast. They seemed to know exactly when she’d be there. Suddenly, she’d appear, worm dangling from her mouth, perch on the outer rim of the nest and lovingly feed her three babies. That sight so overwhelmed me, each time I watched it, that tears often welled up in my eyes and spilled over.

I was reminded of Matthew 6:26 which says: “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”

That same nest was used every spring for three years. The excitement I felt while observing each new family of robins never waned. But I was always a little sad when, one morning, I’d run to the window eager to watch them have their breakfast, and the nest would be empty!

I’ve written in my Joy Journal many times since then. There are entries relating the sheer delight I felt with the birth of each new grandchild, and the fun I had watching them grow and learn about life. I’ve recorded the always welcome visits from each of our children and grandchildren, and the many wonderful holiday celebrations we’ve enjoyed with them. There are also descriptions of lovely weddings, graduations, and dance recitals. The list is long. My Joy Journal is almost full. “My cup runneth over.”

Thomas Kinkade is right. Joy abounds every day! All we have to do is throw our arms and our hearts open wide and accept it.

This story also appears in my book, Somewhere in Heaven My Mother is Smiling~

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