We dug out the sod (well, ok Greg got that strenuous job), replaced clay with black dirt, and planted flowers. Our two granddaughters helped poke around and plant and cover roots with dirt. Then we all watered a brand new flower and herb garden. Beautiful! And the garden was also.
My four-year-old grandson was visiting, and wanted me to play chess with him. He apparently had not played this game before, but since it is perpetually set up to play in the living room, it seemed a likely “yes”. I began to explain the medieval social structure of village and town, roles and class distinctions along with the players (pieces). You know – Pawns=serfs, Rooks = manor houses, Knight = knights (but we call them horses in the game because they look like horses) , Bishop = well….bishop I guess, and everyone knows what a King and Queen are. After being interrupted in this important preliminary a few times, we began to move pieces around the board, toast crumbs notwithstanding. We got a few serfs…..I mean, pawns, moved forward and then got distracted with something else. Because I am able to actually (after spitting my gum out) discuss things *and* move game pieces, we got pretty well along for a four-year-old. The point wasn’t really to finish anyway. He moved on to play with Lego’s and I went to hold his baby brother (who was smiling). Precious moments with precious little people.
My second daughter is home for a two-week break. As a nurse, she gets all different shifts and has enjoyed her much more regular sleep schedule on her break here. We have also enjoyed helping her plan her wedding, find a church building, and shop for fabric. These things all bring joy to our hearts and lives. This joy, hopefully, overflows back to the bringer of it.
Try not to over-spiritualize the concept of joy. Joy isn’t just being content, even when you’re sad (though that is a thing to learn, it isn’t joy at all). I have heard some discuss our “duty to have Joy in our lives”, as if it were a wearious and heavy task.
The Bible talks about a very earthy kind of joy: Like when you anticipate a certain guest to your home, or when the party is just beginning and you are ready for it. It’s a spontaneous cartwheel off the dock into the water, or planting flowers, Imparting chess history, or playing and working with children and grandchildren.
So take someone out for ice cream. Laugh with them. Play a game. Write a poem or tell a funny story. Have a water “fight”. Learn to use a Kayak. Run with the dog. Pick tomatoes. Bring flowers into the house.
Help others shake off the heaviness of the everyday; Laugh through the tears, and cheer someone up. A Merry Heart is a gift from God, and is good for the soul.