Everyone has things they value and hold in esteem. Everyone has some things they are drawn to more than others in this life. Everyone has things that are simply more important to them than others. Sometimes much – much more important to them.
I have noticed far too often we struggle to see the value in things we do not appreciate or delight in ourselves. Often we undervalue – under appreciate – dismiss – and disregard things we don’t like ourselves or understand.
I see this happen all of the time. Unfortunately I do this myself.
I have been working on this. I don’t want to be closed minded – but this can be incredibly hard. Growing is difficult!
But I realized I don’t have to like something to see it gives others joy. This has become my personal touchstone. I can take joy from others’ joy in something without being interested in it myself. Nascar – basketball – the Kentucky Derby – shopping at the mall – Pokemon – hunting – golfing – car anything – phones – Apple stuff – all not my thing – but I can delight in others’ delight. I can find joy in their joy.
Am I suddenly going to be transformed into someone who wants go to the mall to shop? Nope. I find malls rather horrifying. But – I have friends who love to shop and I love to hear their tales of shopping glory.
I fell sound asleep at the one Nascar race I attended. Not even knitting could keep the boredom at bay that day – but I delight in listening to our nephew Nic talk about racing. Nic’s joy is truly contagious in the best way! Nic’s joy can become my joy when I am open to it.
We have neighbors who clearly love sports of all sorts. They also love hosting gatherings of their friends. Derby party – yes! Super Bowl party – of course! Basketball play-off gathering – every single game!!! World Series – they wouldn’t dream of skipping those and neither would their friends. It is a delight to see them gathering around the huge television in their garage to cheer on whoever is being sporty that day.
This is so not my thing – but I love witnessing their joy. It makes me smile every time I see them gathered with those they love to enjoy another sporting event.
Jason’s mom loves to cook. Linda is a magnificent cook. Most meals coming from her kitchen are elaborate and generous and they are all delicious! She delights in trying new recipes along with our family’s favorites. Thankfully we can load the dishwasher and head out to climb some mountains so we do! If we didn’t – a visit to Mimi and Papa’s would result in shocking weight gain . . .
I cook from scratch so it might appear that I too delight in cooking. (Yes – we eat lentil tacos – roasted chickpeas and our refried beans don’t come from a can.) But I do not love to cook! I cook from scratch because it is healthier and contains far fewer chemicals. But honestly – I cook to stay alive. Cooking is neither my joy nor delight.
This week I decided I would focus my heart and my eyes on what Will – Jack – and Jason are drawn to over and over again. I want to appreciate what gives them joy and delights them and soothes those I love after a long day of work and school.
I want to learn to appreciate their joys more. I want to appreciate them more. I want to give thanks for what makes them who they are.
I want to listen to the click of the Legos as Will builds another amazingly awesome Lego plane. I want to appreciate Will’s delight in that moment. I want to see the beauty and not the mess. I want to see Will’s engineering skills and his glorious creativity.
I want to smile along with Jack as he listens to an amusing podcast on his earbuds. Of course I will have no idea what he is listening to – but I can take joy from his laughter and his smiles. His joy is a delight. I give thanks for this joy.
I cannot read Coptic (and very much doubt that I ever will) – but I can take joy from the arrival of Jason’s new Coptic texts. Why yes – I did give my beloved husband “Introduction to Sahidic Coptic” for his birthday earlier this month . . . doesn’t everyone?!? Jason also received “Coptic in 20 Lessons.” And you thought I was nerdy . . . I joke but this is a huge blessing of being married to Jason. He is just so interesting. He reads other languages and studies other cultures. We are never without something intriguing to discuss on our walks.
I will stop to listen and watch as Will plays with wild abandon in our yard with Annabelle and Hannah. I will appreciate their joy and their happiness even though I have zero interest in Pokemon. What matters is their joy and their interest.
I can delight in my family delighting in being who they are.
Life is so – so much bigger than us and our own interests and our own passions. Or at least it can be if we let it. We have to be open to this joy to experience it. This is a joy we can miss by simply closing ourselves off to it.
I encourage you to spend some time this week appreciating the interests and passions and joys of your loved ones and friends.
You may never want to learn to read Coptic yourself – but you can take delight and joy from the sparkle in your beloved’s eyes when he talks about learning a new language.
Rather than rolling your eyes the next time your daughter begins to tell you all about the joy she receives from a trip to the mall try listening and catching her excitement. Or when your son wants to chat about gaming try to catch his joy.
You may never want to knit or play Pokemon or read 8 books in one week or garden or walk endlessly while taking pictures of the clouds or flowers or both – but try catching the joy from those who do delight in these things. Be interested. Be open. Learn. Delight. Enjoy! Savor.
I think you will find delight and blessings in these moments. Life is richer and more blessed when we make our hearts and our minds and our lives bigger.
Your loved ones might just notice your interest and your kindness and your patience too! They might feel more appreciated and more loved . . . More heard – more understood – more seen!
I encourage you to try catching some joy this week. It is a delight and a blessing.
You and all in my heart – thoughts – and prayers.
In Christ and with Love –