There were just two daffodils in our entire yard. I know better than to plant tulips because the deer consider them a gourmet salad mix. But I’ve planted dozens of deer-resistant daffs and narcissus through the years, carefully selecting varieties said to be good naturalizers. The first year several bloom; the next only a few; and from then on I’m lucky if there are any. I just don’t seem to have any luck with them. But I noticed these two daffodils a couple days ago, gamely working their way up through the protection of a rhododendron branch, and I smiled.
Yesterday my hubby handed them to me. We’d had an exceptionally heavy rainstorm, and he found both of them broken, with their sunny faces resting on the ground. I rinsed them off and tucked them into a vase. The sun came out briefly during the afternoon and shone through the window. I couldn’t stop admiring how the flowers looked, basking in the glow. Naturally I reached for my camera and took shots from every angle.
It was only as I reviewed the photos on my computer that I noticed something. I had selected a vase based on its appropriate size, and not paid a lot of attention to which one it was. But the sun’s rays made it glisten, and now my attention was drawn to the beauty I’d overlooked.
We often chuckle at young children who get more pleasure from the box than from the gift inside. Other times we may go overboard and labour over gift wrapping until the exterior of a package is worth more than its contents. In my case, I found joy in sunshine through petals, and only later gleaned equal pleasure from the casually chosen container.
How often do we miss seeing the obvious? And when we miss seeing, we forget thankfulness. And without thankfulness there is no joy.
Not long ago I printed out “A Year of Graces” from Ann Voskamp’s website — a perpetual calendar with lines on which to record those things for which I am thankful each day. On the first page is this statement:
“Joy is always a function of gratitude —
and gratitude is always a function of perspective.
If we are going to change our lives,
what we’re going to have to change
is the way we see.”
Later there is this:
“No one gets to joy by trying to make everything perfect.
One only arrives there by seeing in every imperfection
all that is joy.”
And in that was my analogy, just waiting to be found… the link to writing. I have always affirmed that I enjoy revising my writing. There is such satisfaction in refining to bring forward the best a story can be. Yet many times I struggle with revisions, trying unsuccessfully to find exactly the right words, too often becoming frustrated and disheartened. In retrospect, I think it’s because I’m seeing my failure and overlooking the process… focusing on the results instead of how I achieve them.
I love writing. The thought of not writing fills me with anxiety. I’ve always been better at putting words on paper than in speaking them. How would I express the chaos of unuttered thoughts if not on paper? What would I do with all the story ideas and blog posts if I didn’t let them flow out through my fingertips? Fulfillment comes from the doing, from creative expression, in wrestling thoughts out of the void into a finite place. I’m grateful for the ideas, for the ability to put them into words — however imperfect they may be — for the desire to communicate and the freedom and time to keep trying.
My gratitude prompts thankfulness, which in turn encourages joy to blossom. In those moments when I gather together my efforts and raise cupped hands in a gesture of thankful praise, it is the uplifted hands that are important, not the quality of their less-than-praiseworthy contents.
I have a new work-in-progress that I put aside in favour of revising something older. Lately both have been preempted by a church history project, but it doesn’t matter what I’m working on as long as I approach the task with that attitude of gratitude. There will be joy in the doing.
What small everyday joy will bring thankfulness to your heart today?
“I will praise God’s name in song and glorify Him with thanksgiving.”
~ ~ ~
5 thoughts on “Are you motivated by the destination or the journey?”
Beautiful Daffodil, Carol, and an equally lovely message in your post. You have inspired me. I hope to be writing again soon. I see a season change ahead. Blessings to you…
This may sound trite but one of the many joys I feel each day is watching the birds out the windows of my office. Their little faces are so close to me, they have no idea I’m sitting within a few feet of them. But yet they continue eating bird seed, throwing it all over the ground, and then flying over to one of the bird baths to either splash or drink a gulp of water. Another joy is the beauty of the orchids that surround me. Both in the screen room outside my office and here in my office. The Lord made them both. What better reflection on Him than that beauty.
Your pictures are breath taking! Sometimes I’m anxious to read your blog to see what new photography you’ve added!
Hugs and blessings my friend,
Sunshine and warm temperatures gave me a major case of spring fever. Love it!
Lately, it’s been the sound of brds early in the morning when I step outside the house. My husband always says there is no sweeter sound. I think he’s right. 🙂
Many years ago, someone was trying to explain the beauty in witnessing something ordinary, but couldn’t find the words. That was when someone else said, “Well, wait and the poets will take over and make the world go ah in wonder.” I’m paraphrasing, but my point is, you are one of those poets they spoke about. You take the everyday and make it glisten with your words, Carol. I so appreciate that.
As for not noticing the richness of simple moments, I do that too much too. And then my husband will ask me to look at something spectacular, like a beautiful bird, or a perfect sculptured tree, or a special cluster of leaves, and I’m reminded how wonderful God’s tiny gifts are. It’s really a miracle to be alive and surrounded by such gentle beauty.