When life is a struggle, and you slip down from that steep ladder you are climbing, or you slide backwards in the midst of a stormy season, you only wish the sudden arrival of a little joy, a slight elation that shows life worthy of living. At times all you need is only that softening sentiment, that almost sacred moment of temporary relief from the depressing side of life, that bit of a mysterious spark out of the ordinary; for you to feel uplifted to a realm of the surreal that can actually cause a real effect to take you away from the frustration and the negativity of having to move on.
Almost every day, we long for that little joy. A blithe spirit that sheds light, makes magic and reveals the truth; healing, reassuring, promising. A bliss, exaltation or ecstasy may be too extravagant and perhaps also unrealistic when we are going through the dark tunnel. A quiet but enlivening feeling would be just right for the downtrodden heart.
Yet an opportunity for a smile or laugh is often just round the corner, so unexpected but so forthcoming, never demanding, no outburst. Perhaps a budding half-flower may conjure up an idea. A dog chasing his tennis ball may ease the pain. An enchanting old tree makes you feel sheltered. A cup of tea, with its lingering steam, soothes the senses. That elderly woman’s returning smile gives you peace. That half-moon bends down to tell stories. The sight of playing children. The clouds circling the setting sun. Those lapping waves…and not to overlook the eyes of a compassionate stranger, if we care to look and hear and feel.
If only we could take our eyes away from our weary selves. If only we could try to feel what others feel, and think beyond our problems. That’s to say, if we could, for a little while, stop being so human, for that little joy. Sometimes we need to abandon ourselves to savour an extraordinary sweet sensation.
Because joy is never flashy, always a bit subdued, quite hidden, fleeting, too; if we focus on ourselves, we easily let it slip by; and we regret that a day has passed by with the same disheartening routines.
But we can’t catch a joy–it is not meant to be caught, or allured, or trapped; no matter how clever you are, you cannot make a joy land upon you. But you can surely prepare yourself to be surprised by joy. Open your mind, turn away from your own troubles, see the wonders of creation, listen to the sounds of beauty, smell the change of seasons, and feel the touch of nature… just those small things and tiny matters— but they contribute to amazing us with a truth of life that cheers up.
Ultimately a delightful feeling has to surface from the heart. So you need to search your heart, clear its way, tend to its soft spots. Nurture it like a garden plant that needs fertilizer and water and sun; cherish it as the most captivating part of you by talking and listening to it; also, teach it with patience and persistence to lead it to an appreciation of what is adorable and wonderful and beautiful.
Never be sceptical; even in our endurance of miseries, a petite gladness can be found somewhere; and with a strengthened heart, we can offer a little something gratifying to others. Be heartened by a little joy, and sing a little song. And a little more joy will follow.