"Whatever may be the tensions and the stresses of a particular day,
there is always lurking close at hand the trailing beauty of forgotten joy or unremembered peace."
This morning, birds on my phone alarm chirped at an ungodly hour. The night before was filled with heartburn, not sleep. I was readying myself to drive into town for the last final of the semester- math, the most dreaded of all subjects. And yet, the flashbacks to my math midterm never surfaced (picture a 28 year old woman with her hand shielding her face, and teardrops smudging her mascara- and then picture someone who looks nothing like me because I refuse to admit it got that bad). Instead, it could not have been a more peaceful morning.
The early sun was streaming through my windshield, and I took a couple country roads before I reached the city. And then, at the very moment I began to feel anxious, a song came on the radio. It's a song Millie sang in church for Mother's Day, one she's practiced for weeks, getting nearly all the words wrong and melting my heart every time. The piano chords and the thought of her had me blinking back happy tears. Just like that, all was right again. When I pulled in to the school and began the walk inside, I stepped across some fallen leaves that remind me of my mama. She probably doesn't even know it, but I remember asking her what those trees were called years and years ago, and I think of her every time I see them now. I walked into that classroom feeling like I had an army behind me.
I'm not sure yet whether I passed that class- I've gotten As in all my others this year, but math and I have never gotten along. Even so, I'm okay. More than okay, actually. I celebrated with Starbucks as soon as the test was over (and I'm telling you now- do not get the Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino. You will fall into a deep pit of addiction and your life will be run by a cold beverage. Not that I would know. Not that it is now my favorite.). I scanned the radio for something loud to turn up louder, and felt such a deep, sweet peace.
I'm practiced in worry. I'm awesome at doubt. I've walked hand in hand with depression so much of my life that, oftentimes, anything else feels disingenuous. But today felt like a crescendo of so many good things the past few weeks. My husband is finally home. My daughter is the brightest spot in my life. This bony, dancing baby will be looking into my face in six weeks' time. My family and friends are healthy, our pictures are going up on our walls, we're just about out of debt completely, and I finished my first full year of college education today, which is something I wasn't sure I could ever do. I haven't graduated yet, I'll have to brave my labor fears soon, and there's laundry to be folded; but tonight, that's all okay with me. It's really good-soul softening good- to feel that today was a good day, and tonight is a good night, and the future is hopeful.
I don't know how to practice this kind of quiet joy, but I'm so very willing to learn.
P.S. If you haven't entered my giveaway yet, go for it!