All Kinds of Happiness
It’s hard to be brave when you’re only a very small animal.
Piglet (Pooh’s friend)
Yesterday was kind of challenging. So were the previous dozen or so. I found myself having to work harder than before to find an optimistic, hopeful nature. The simple act of making a wish on a dandelion filled me with poignancy and even a bucket full of sadness. I was consciously looking around every corner, every day, for the pieces of sunshine in a world that was turning increasingly gray. I felt overwhelmed at even the slightest chance of having to confront the C word again. The idea of throat surgery scared me to death. The idea of an IV iron drip, with all its potential dangers, also severely threatened to numb my optimism. The approaching “holiday” called Valentine’s was like a sour taste to an already bitter soul full.
It was a rough spell.
But then…. Around midnight last night, magic started happening. Snow. Beautiful, beautiful white snow fell. And not just a little sprinkling of flurries either. No, I glanced out to see my entire neighborhood blanketed by a layer of the glistening stuff. Magic. My heart flipped and even though it was midnight, I got the girls up for a quick look and exclamations of joy.
love, adore, snow. It makes my world happy. I don’t care how cold it is (my bedroom is usually colder), I don’t care how slushy it can get. I will stay in the snow all day long, consciously risking frostbite to touch it. Now, this is Tennessee and our weather this year needs some Prozac–it cannot make up its mind on being Spring or Winter. It was 70 degrees five days ago. So, the snow that fell wasn’t of the soft, fort-building kind: it was hard and crunchy. Snowball fights weren’t really possible. Determined to play in it, I didn’t care. I drudged up some food coloring and we went out to paint pictures in the snow instead.
I have waited to do that for a very, very long time. I have been praying for snow since November. It’s midnight now and all the snow is gone. The roads never even got slick ( though schools, of course, were closed). But I had a full night last night and morning today to see the earth as a beautiful, pristine picture and it totally sparked a light in me.
Getting to see snow wasn’t the only thing in store for the day. Getting to fulfill a dream by painting it wasn’t the only thing in store either.
Seeing as homeschool doesn’t involve driving anywhere, we decided to have school. My oldest had a lightbulb, a-ha kind of moment in math. When you work really hard with one kid on a concept and she finally understands it, a special feeling of companionship and accomplishment encompasses you both. It makes it all wonderful. My youngest daughter chose a more challenging book to read for the family reading time without prodding from me. Then, Breathe’s first birthday present finally arrived. And, then, Breathe and Alight both spent the afternoon with me sewing. What did they sew? Alight chose to sew a pony that she then stuffed–and not for herself: she wants to give it as a Valentine’s Day gift to Breathe.
Valentine’s Day is a day that has just served to mock me most of my life. It is not a happy day and, while I am sincerely happy for those who are in love, it seems to just make me wonder what is wrong with me. So for Alight to choose Valentine’s Day instead of the upcoming birthday to give the pony to Breathe was important and special. It made me remember to look at that day not as a day to celebrate couples but to celebrate loving others.
Breathe made a stuffed heart and asked to give it to a special friend. They were not thinking of themselves but of others–and with no prodding on my part at all. First of all, sewing is a skill, and it makes me very happy that the girls enjoy it as much as I do. Secondly, it made me proud of the kind of girls they are.
Fulfilling a dream, seeing and touching snow, a successful day in school and home, a renewed look on a dreaded holiday… These were not the only things in store for me this day.
Tonight, one of my 342005821458 doctors personally called me for no other reason but to ask how I was feeling. He was worried about me. That three minute phone call did more for me than the last two weeks put together have. It made me feel remembered, a topic to which I could devote an entire blog. It also made me feel taken care of, which is rather a novel and singular feeling that doesn’t happen regularly.
Not only that, but I posted a Facebook status about how happy I was he called and immediately had a couple people email me, and a dozen more respond to the status with offers of prayers. I have trouble asking for help. Everyone has a full plate of their own right now; they don’t need anything else to add to it. I have bigger issues with complaining: not only does it not solve anything, it creates an atmosphere of pessimism. So I usually end up trudging along, with clenched hands and a calm nature, simply waiting for the storm to pass. I keep a tight reign on my emotions, always staying calm and steady. But I love the people I am surrounded by and I cannot tell you how much it means to me when they take time to let me know they’re there. One told me never to hesitate to message or call; another called me a role model; others offered to pray. Really, it has moved and touched me on very deep levels. After all, Winnie the Pooh said: “It’s so much more friendly with two.” Or three, or four, ten, a hundred.
Yesterday, I wondered why I should bother making wishes at all. Today, several came true. It was a reminder that God never forgets or leaves me alone. I needed a good day. I needed to feel connected to other people again, even if just for a short time. I didn’t have to consciously look for hope today; it popped up every time I turned around.
The snow is gone, I may not ever get another check up call from a doctor, I still face the iron drip , Valentine’s Day still approaches and Monday might bring a duo of confused and blank faces in school. But my cup has been refilled; I’m ready to face the new day and its challenges.
Sometimes gifts come one at a time, slowly and subtly, like the smile of a child or a wish on a dandelion. And then people reach out, holding out a sure and steady helping hand. Sometimes snow comes and stays just long enough to fill the heart with a rejuvenating blend of awe and hope. Sometimes, one smile from God turns everything around.
I can’t change the events of lab tests. I can’t change Valentine’s. I can’t change lots of scary things. But today, all day, a bubble of peace and joy floated in my heart. I’ve got my daughters, sister and mother, writing, snow, dandelion fluff, beautiful friends and a world that is full of opportunity and light and wonder. I was reminded today that good days aren’t just good days. They are meant to bring you joy, such joy that you’ll remember it when the clouds turn grey. Every day, every minute, every second is full of magic and my day was full of things, and people, that made it rich in heartwarming joy. I walked out onto my porch earlier to retrieve a log for my fire and I looked up. I saw a few stars but not many. Emotion, gratitude, swelling my heart, I whispered: “Thank You, Abba.” And now I’m writing, and I’m not focusing on cancer or tests or IV iron drips; my heart is too full to hold anything but gratitude, peace and simple joys. I’m not afraid of some rain; I’ll take the chance to dance in it instead.
“What day is it?”asked Pooh. “Today,” squeaked Piglet. Pooh nodded and said: “My favorite.”