Sometimes joy oozes out of me and people can’t help but notice.
It has happened a few times this summer already; I was riding my bike through the neighborhoodyourself!"
He hasn’t been the only one to stop. The kids in the neighborhood sometimes stand mouth open at the edge of their lawns, watching me as I bike down the road. I’m sure many of them have never seen a recumbent trike before, and usually as I whiz past, I hear a shouted confession from cupped hands, “I like your bike!”
A teenager once named my bike the Lazy-Matron 2000. Admittedly, riding my bike is like pedaling a lawn chair through the neighborhood. It’s very comfortable, and if I could somehow figure out how to sip a glass of lemonade at the same time, I don’t really see any reason to come home!
Joy oozed out of me while singing in my car. I think, at times, the car can become a sanctuary. The journey from here to there becomes less about the responsibilities waiting at the destination and more about the moment. My friend Joel Hanson generously gave me an early copy of his new CD Let Me Tell You Everything. The whole album is great, but some of the songs are about praising God and that just gets me jazzed thinking about heaven!
So, there I was, savoring all these thoughts of standing in a massive choir wearing high heels, while singing out loud to the words in the song coming from my car stereo. I was so blissfully lost in pleasure that I didn’t even notice when my own family pulled up next to me and tried to get my attention. My sister-in-law described the sight later: There you were, just smiling away!
Joy oozes out of when I teach college courses.
For the past several summers, I’ve had the opportunity to teach adults at the college level. I love all aspects of this opportunity. It is beautiful to walk alongside people who have answered their callings to become teachers. I feel a mixture of humility and honor, fear and delight every time I walk into a class on the first day and take my place at the instructor’s station. I’m so grateful to be standing there. But do you know what’s my favorite part?
It’s the clothes.
Honestly. I don’t think the childhood delight of dress up really stops for girls as they age. It just becomes more sophisticated. College teaching doesn’t require me to be on my feet all day, so I get to wear things that I normally can’t away with like boots and sandals. It was so fun to go shopping the first time and tell the attendant at Maurices that I was buying clothes to be a college professor!
I watched all of Season 10 of TLC’s What Not to Wear and took notes. Stacy and Clinton would be proud. Did you know that fuschia goes with mustard because of their positions on the color wheel? Did you know that you can mix prints together as long as they are in the same color pallet? Do you know the four elements of a complete outfit: color, pattern, texture, shine?
One day on campus, a Caribou Coffee barista handed me my drink and she said, “You look good. I really like your outfit.” I smiled and said, “Thank you! I am trying!”
And there was last summer, when I opened the garage door, headed for work, when my next door neighbor saw my outfit, and just about died.
Ahh! She gasped, covering her mouth in shock. "Jenny! You look so pretty!"
I don’t wake up happy every morning. Sometimes holding a positive attitude seems less than authentic. Melancholy feels about normal. But joy that oozes out of me has caught my attention. It is a rare and beautiful thing. It has made others stop and notice and it has made me stop and reflect too.
Ponder with me….
What do you delight in, so much so, that you invest your time and energy with joy?
Where have you seen joy ooze out of your being to be noticed by others?
If it’s been awhile, what do you need to return to that brings you joy?