I am writing from a secret location. My husband and daughter sent me here all by my lonesome when a friend offered us a few nights at his vacant mountain condo. The family could have come with me, but they knew in a way that only Loved Ones can know, that I needed something I never get:

solitude.

Because it is so rare and so precious, I want to spend my solitude wisely. And wisely in my case, is to be not so serious about wisdom. I need a little whimsy. I need a little

joy.

The vital nature of the vitality in joy was made clear to me recently.

Listening to a TED talk by Ingrid Fetell Lee, I heard about research that indicates certain things bring virtually everyone “joy”: small, ordinary, everyday things. And they are usually round and colorful. And everywhere.

We just have to become

aware

of them.

Imagine! What researchers call “universal joy” is ours for the taking! All around us!

The idea gave me the answer to a cry for help I received last week:

“I feel like the aloe plant that’s been forgotten on the porch…it had great usefulness to offer and wasn’t overly needy, but even with the desert-hardy resilience & tenacity of a succulent, extreme conditions without intervention have taken their toll, leaving the tips of each frond burned and the rest, weak & dark. Sometimes I wonder if all the care & attention in the world will be enough to resurrect that poor aloe: me!”

Doesn’t your heart ache for her? And for…

yourself?

The letter-writer’s reference to “all the care & attention in the world” particularly struck me. She was right! Her body and spirit were so depleted—her natural desire for life and for love in such arrears, her worth and worthiness so battered and tattered—there was little chance that happiness (in the long-term way we think of it) would be waiting round the corner anytime soon. Even more remote was the hope that someone had the secret to permanently putting the spring (and the green) back in her little aloe plant. NO ONE on earth has that much water. Or that much time TO water.

So what then? Is she doomed to wilt, writhe, and wither away the rest of her life?

No.

The best hope for “poor aloe” and for all of us “poor aloes”, I’ve come to believe (at least to begin with), is to give up our dreams of pure “happiness” in this life; THAT IS, dreams of constant, steady, long-standing, permanently-reinstated uninterrupted “happiness”.

That—no matter how blessed, strong, and good we may be—isn’t meant to be.

What IS meant to be is

joy.

And it comes in

droplets.

Joy, like the rain, is nourishing, cleansing, and refreshing, but joy is also different from the rain in that we control how often droplets of joy fall. Bring on a sprinkle or a shower at will by simply acknowledging the drops of joy you encounter each day as you encounter them. Momentary miracles happen if—as you think of or come upon a “drop”—you breathe in the

warmth

and the

wonder

and the

freshness

in it. In . . .

you.

Remember, the tinier and more fleeting your “drop”, the better.

In fact, it’s very brevity and

simplicity

IS the joy.

So there you go!

And here I go. . .

. . .off to enjoy my summer day of solitude. I think I’ll eat watermelon and listen to a bird and whatever other joys pop up because. . .

the more that it rains, the more that is right.

Have you read Wife for Life: The Power to Succeed in Marriage? In it, you will learn (among many other things) about delights and dazzles, both of which will bring you more substantial joy. You cannot take on tough, complex issues in your life and marriage until you have kindness and compassion towards yourself. Droplets to Delights to Dazzles will give you that.

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