In the busyness of life, I often forgot to seek joy in the mundane and everyday moments of life. When my youngest comes into our room at about 5am, requesting a cuddle I obligingly pulled back the covers. I lay there with a snuggling one beside me, thinking (worrying) about what was going to happen in the minutes and hours to come.
Here comes the thought train
It’s no way to start the day. The thoughts wind up and begin flooding my mind;
‘I’ll need to put her back in her bed soon, she won’t be happy about that. She might wake the others. At this hour if that happens, sleep will be over for the whole household…then everyone will be grumpy.’
‘What will I make for school lunches today? What’s in the fridge that I can make dinner from? Might need a trip to the shop? Do I have decent clothes ironed so I can attend school assembly this morning?’
On and on went the thoughts in my still half-asleep brain, now beginning to gear up and swirl about. Often in these moments of half-waking, I have the best inspiration. I’ll mentally write poems or songs that’ll never be heard again, not even by me. I’ll pray for someone that’s been on my heart and mind, around the edges of my consciousness for days.
It’s also the time where worry can easily creep in, jolting me awake with adrenaline. Reminding me of the huge number of tasks I need to be doing, or the job I have been putting off that is now urgent, reminding me of the things I am (or at least think I am) failing at. Anxiety slips in beside me and grips me tight, squeezing and suffocating me.
And as I lay there worrying about having to return my youngest to her bed soon, and about the day ahead, I suddenly stopped myself. Forcing myself to push aside the thoughts and return to the present moment. My daughter was warm and soft beside me and had curved her body to fit mine as I hugged her tight. She was lying unusually still and content. I was hugging her tight like a little child would a teddy. We were both enjoying it. As I took in the moment, I was flooded with feelings of contentment and thankfulness- and I almost let my worry make me miss it.
The bible talks in Psalm 46 of “Being still”, but it’s not something I’m so good at. I too often worry about the next task, or potential problem, and don’t actually enjoy what’s going right in the day. My mind wants to keep trucking along, even when my body is still. I often need to pray for help to quiet my swirling thoughts.
So for the rest of that particular week, I have made an effort to be more “still” and in the moment. I took notice of the little things going on around me. It was surprising how much pleasure this brought into even my most average, mundane days.
I watched my youngest build Duplo for a few minutes as I sipped my Chai tea. I was taken in watching her process of construction, and seeing her redesign and improve the building as she went. Her little brain hard at work.
I saw my eldest casually plant a kiss on his sister’s head before he went off to bed one night. He showed me the city he had been building in his room, as he explained with delight all the thought and planning that had gone into its creation.
I watched on with my middle child as a bee buzzed about the pak choy flowers in the garden. We talked about how the bee was probably going to make honey in our neighbours’ hive, and how that happens.
I made chocolate chip cookies for my kids using the same recipe my mum used when I was a child. They tasted like love and nostalgia.
These little moments brought me happiness, and in such times of Covid lockdowns and restrictions, don’t we all need a little more of this in our life?! Sure, these sweet moments often occurred among lots of sibling bickering, cleaning up messes, toddler tantrums and feelings of frustration, but they were there. Just waiting to be seen and enjoyed.
“What we focus on life is what will become magnified in our life.”
Focus on the negative, and pretty soon the negative will be all you can see. I want a life full of joy and thankfulness, even on tough days. So on the hard days, the boring days, my new goal is to “be still” more and focus on the little moments of positivity and joy that exist every day.