“I’m beginning to recognize that real happiness isn’t something large and looming on the horizon ahead but something small, numerous and already here. The smile of someone you love. A decent breakfast. The warm sunset. Your little everyday joys all lined up in a row.” – Beau Taplin
I’ve been thinking about little joys ever since reading the above quote earlier this week. So today I decided to line my little joys up in a row:
– A visit to a bookstore
– The iced chai latte I bought only as an excuse to stop at a coffeehouse named “The Little Red Fox”
– Sitting in the shade in a comfortably worn, wooden chair
– The soundtrack to a movie I’ve never seen called Many Beautiful Things
– Emails from a friend
– Nighttime driving with the windows down
I’m finding the little joys offer a lot in the way of satisfaction. Maybe because they are real and small enough that I can hold them in my hand and feel they’re really truly mine.
C.S. Lewis writes in the Screwtape Letters about the little joys. He calls them “real pleasures, ” things which carry “a sort of innocence and humility and self-forgetfulness about them,” which make one feel like “coming home.” He implies that these are the unassuming moments and activities which point us back to our Father, ground us in reality, and wake us up to living.
A friend of mine and I have been talking about discovering what feeds our souls: creating artwork; reading books; learning a new language. We’ve realized that we become more fully ourselves, more animated and refreshed and alive, when these are part of our daily rhythms and routines. And while each is a larger habit or a constant working in our lives, it’s the small moments stemming from them that make us feel, like Lewis said, as if we are coming home: trying a new painting technique; finally recognizing the tense of a Greek verb; underlining beautiful words in a good book. I think that’s why the little joys are important. I think the little joys are part of bigger joys too. I think the little joys are part of what feeds our souls.
So today I’m lining up my little joys, and I’m praying for the grace to see them tomorrow.