All through December, I contemplated the idea of choosing a word to describe my hopes for the upcoming year. A word to guide me, to anchor me. A word with which to bring intentionality to my days. This was a great exercise because it allowed me to re-focus on my priorities. Choosing just one word though proved to be a challenge. I finally settled on JOY, with the idea of purposely choosing joy and happiness in the midst of daily trials. Looking always for the good, the blessings in the hard lessons learned and the wisdom to be gained. Trying always to be mindful that how I choose to view a situation will create its truth for me.
So I had the word JOY in mind as I meandered through the first day of 2014. I quickly realized that choosing to be joyful, when children argue incessantly and my last frayed nerves creep up on me more quickly after a wakeful night with the little one, will definitely be a challenge. When the mundane tasks of laundry and dishes threaten my inner joy because They. Just. Never. End. (Writing that makes me laugh out loud. It sounds so trivial. But if you’ve ever been there, you know what I mean.)
I must admit I began second guessing myself. Did I choose the right word? Should I pick a different word? Absolutely not! The very fact that I am challenged by choosing JOY means I need this practice all the more. Then, as so often happens, I found wisdom in a children’s book.
My favorite 6 year old asked to snuggle up and read together. So even though I felt like I was getting it all wrong on this first day of the New Year, snuggle we did. He chose one of our favorites, Amber on the Mountain. And it was there in those pages that I have read countless times that I found my answer. “…You can do almost anything you fix your mind on…Just pretend you are old Rockhead [the stubborn mule]. Set your whole self to the task.” Sounds simple, but there in that moment it was what I needed to hear.
I can choose JOY. I will choose JOY. I will refuse to let the negative permeate me. I will choose to smile when little hands make messes. I will choose to keep folding laundry and washing dishes even when I don’t feel like it. I have faith that the joy will be there. It’s already there. Waiting for me. I just have to be stubborn enough to see it.