joy, simply

March 14, 2012

“Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.” I read that quote today, by Karl Barth, and it struck me, strangely. At first I didn’t think about it, reading it as the sort of quote that doesn’t usually feel very meaningful to me. But it stuck in my head, and I realized that it was more meaningful than I had at first realized.
Because today I was struggling with joy. Finding it “simple,” perhaps, but far from easy. The strangest thing for me was that I actually was enjoying my work. Enjoying it, yet resisting the Joy of it.
Why? Because I was fearing the future.
Fearing next week, when I will lose the classes I have been able to teach this week. When I will lose the ownership I’ve been able to take this week, and the ways I’ve been able to make use my years of training, studies, and experience.
So realizing that this fear was holding me back from fully enjoying the present, I repented. Forgive me, Father, for my lack of gratitude. Forgive me for the independence that makes me hold so tightly to my illusions of control that I cannot simply accept the gift of the present. Forgive me for too much anxiety and too little joy.
After realizing this about my day, I walked outside to watch the children enjoying their recess. Enjoying it. And I chose to enjoy that moment as well. I took a lesson from the laughing little ones, and I took pleasure in the beauty of it: the beauty of the artfully contrasting colors. The beauty of the hard-working teachers supervising. The beauty of the thawing snow, signifying Spring-to-come. The beauty of the moment, in the midst of all the uncertainties, fears, and complications of life in this place as in any.


4 Responses to “joy, simply”

  1. Tucker McLelland said

    Oh Anna…You and your wonderful ability to put life into words and pictures!! It means so much to have these glimpses into your life there and it helps us not miss you so badly!. God is right there ever vigilant and protecting and sustaining. Glad to hear about that hint of spring after seeing that “wintery mix”! Keep the pictures both written and photographed coming!!!

  2. Celeste said

    You gotta sieze the joy always. Love the pic. :) <3

  3. Carol Waffel said

    SO OFTEN you say exactly what I feel and think. This morning driving into work I gave thanks for the wonderful colors God put into everything, thinking of the wonderful spring flowers that are all over the place here and so much more. He could’ve made everything black and white, and we would never have known the difference. He did it so we can enjoy the colors. I took real joy in the sight of a small raised bed of bright pink tulips yesterday. Today at work (closed captioning for retro TV shows) I took joy in captioning an especially interesting show. I truly do try to find joy in the small moments. Thanks for this post!

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