Joy in the Ordinary
This piece was originally published in Spring of 2015 in a print magazine called Momazine, alongside a 3 page photo essay exploring beauty in scenes of every day life with my boys. While I can’t replicate the magaziine spread here, I’ll include a slideshow with a few of extra photos at the bottom.
Someday when we have more space…
Someday when we’re finally financially secure…
Someday when the kids are older…
It’s not that we don't want to be happy, we say, it’s just these circumstances pushing in around us.
If only I could take a real vacation.
If only we had a regular babysitter.
If only my baby would sleep through the night.
So we sit at the kitchen table of our minds and hearts and craft our personal vision board - the playbook for reaching the keys to our happiness.
When we remodel this tiny kitchen…
When I finally get that promotion…
When the kids are all in school…
And time moves on, one more day slipping into the column marked “ past,” and yet we remain squarely in the present - no closer to existing in our future or within this place called someday. Each if only we manage to check off the list reveals three more behind it; each when that we reach reveals itself to be a mere checkpoint on the journey, and not the finish line we envisioned.
Too much of our lives slip away while we are waiting for them to begin, as we slowly sacrifice our joy in the pursuit of mere happiness. We chase the external, the temporal, the situational, the promise of possibility at the expense of what is already rightfully ours. And yet our joy is ever present, camouflaged in the humble simplicity of the everyday - an eternal inheritance waiting only for us to claim it.
For in as much as our happiness is ever dictated by external circumstances, our joy springs from within. It’s found in gratitude, in our recognition for the blessings we’ve already received. It’s found in contentment, in rejecting the never-ending quest for more and embracing the here and now. It’s found in our relationships with those we love, in time spent investing in the eternal over the temporal. It’s found in simplicity, in cultivating an intentional appreciation for the little things inside a world that often values only the extravagant and extreme. Our joy is there for the taking, scattered amongst the midnight feedings and the after school pickups, between cleaning up legos and combing freshly bathed baby curls. It’s in the present, in this very moment, with no conditions or hurdles or if only’s in our way.
We only need to claim it.