I hurry to the window in near panic as I hear screams outside. After a few moments I realize that these are not screams but squeals of delight!
Precious children point and scream at hundreds of bugs swarming to the lights. Little hands try catching them and kids jump to reach them.
It might as well be Christmas, the way the kids are running around with such joy.
I look back at that night in Kigali as a reprieve from the ugliness of poverty. We danced together, the kids, the bugs and I. Even though orphaned or abandoned, these Rwandan children found joy in the beauty and simplicity of the bugs.
Now, three years later, I’m driving to work on a busy Colorado interstate. I know that a pile of papers and emails awaits me. And back home, I’ve left laundry piled high and dishes still in the sink. These seem like petty problems, but it’s the everyday-life kind of stuff and it’s bogging me down.
I make a conscious decision to practice the discipline of joy. To name the joys. As Ann Voskamp reminds us in One Thousand Gifts, the naming is important:
“The space that spans my inner emptiness fills in the naming. I name. And I know the face I face. God’s! God is in the details; God is in the moment. God is in all that blurs by in a life — even hurts in a life.”
In the car alone, I recount joys and name them, aloud. The warmth of the heat on full blast. A working car. A cup of hot coffee.
And then the sun breaks through the clouds. Literally and figuratively! The sun begins to shine and kiss the trees and mountains. As the snow on Pikes Peak glistens even brighter, the daunting tasks ahead of me at work, and those left to do at home, don’t seem so important.
I have taken a break to enjoy and name the beauty and the joys set before me in that very moment. The small things.
In that moment I give thanks and remember. I remember a night years ago when little children shrieked with joy over the splendor of the small things. As I am doing today, relishing the beauty of a drive to work.
The brilliance of that sun hitting the mountains? It might as well be Christmas, the way my heart leaps within me.