A few weeks ago, during all of the end-of-Advent bustle, I caught this guy taking some time to stop and smell the lemon button fern.
The kids had been waiting for days for Tree Cutting Day. Going out to get the tree on the farm is so rich with memories for all of us. This year, I couldn’t go, so our daughter Carrie took photographs for me to treasure.
I waited at home for them to come back. When I saw the sheep skitter across the knoll, I knew they were on the way. First, I saw Caroline come around the bend, pulling the sled with Georgie on it. Not far behind were the rest of the children, talking, laughing, skipping. Last, came an enormous tree with two pair of legs, boughs jauntily bouncing to the rhythm of their steps. I couldn’t believe what a gift I have been given in these people, in this place.
“I could leave the world with today in my eyes.” – Truman Capote (from A Christmas Memory)
The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found? – J. B. Priestley
Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony. – Thomas Merton
I used to believe that happiness was a matter of intensity. I craved stimulation of all the senses, all the time. I needed to feel life in order to be sure I was alive.
Over the last year, I’ve had more stimulation of the senses than I could ever have dreamed. We all have. That constant onslaught makes you tender and sore. It makes you crave quietude. And it often makes happiness feel elusive. We forgot how to be happy in the storm that is trauma. Trauma is evil. Trauma steals all good things. It is hell.
And then Brian and I had a talk at a restaurant dinner table recently…
The gentle, orderly rhythm that is provided by our prayer life and homeschool studies, the flow of the liturgical seasons, the joy of marking holidays and holy days with simple, joyful celebrations. That is what heals the soul, what brings happiness back to the hearth, what dispels darkness.