When are you the happiest? What does it look like? Feel like? What are you doing? Are you at rest or full of energy? Are you surrounded by people or all alone? Are you using your gifts and talents? Creating something or serving others? Maybe both?
When do you catch yourself feeling so alive that the word "happy" doesn't cover it?
I am happiest when I walk into our kitchen through the garage door after a day. Any day. It doesn't have to be a bad day or a good day or a productive day. Any day will do. When I walk into our home, I am happy.
I see two young faces. One boy. One girl. Sunburned shoulders and freckled noses. There are crumbs on the counter and dust around the edge of the floorboards. I don't care. I'm home. I start dinner and the not so little girl twirls or sings, then flits off to find another attention. The boy, tall and almost unrecognizable to the toddler who stood in his place, I swear it was only 3 weeks ago. He effortlessly slides into a seat on the counter with his legs dangling off the edge. He reaches over and snatches a bite of chicken that I've pulled out of the pan. It seems ridiculous to caution that it's hot, but I do it anyway.
I unwrap a couple of 8X10 canvases and set them on the table. Bright blue eyes and bouncy curls hop up and down excited with possibilities. I set some watercolors and a stained cup on the table. Paper towels and brushes are moved into position and she's off to see what the canvas will bring to life. Without a word, I smile because I know it will be a butterfly. It's as soft and gentle as her heart and it's her favorite thing to create. A mosiac begins and she falls silent, lost in her work.
The boy with a head for technology, Ipads and computer games observes his little sister. He watches her as he pushes a chair just a little closer to the kitchen table. His movement becomes settled and only the tilt of his head and his chin pointing in her direction gives me permission. At this age, a mother knows what her son is thinking. Well sometimes. He sees what his sister is doing. He might like to try. Maybe it's too silly for him. I push a blank canvas across the table and set down a paint brush beside him. His eyes dart to me for a spilt second and in those green eyes, I catch it. For just a moment, I see my little boy again. Wonder and delight comes for a visit. This precious twilight will be over soon. I consciously breathe it in to my memory.
On his canvas, a tree emerges. Stoic. Simple lines, not blurry along the edge even though the water colors long to smear and blend. His concentration is cautious and definite. An architect of color. The three of us sit quietly at the kitchen table with only the sound of water sloshing against the side of the dirty cup. I look out the window and see a hummingbird tasting the red liquid in the feeder. With the duller green and lack of a bright ruby chest, I know she's a female. Silently I imagine her nest, and in almost the same thought, I become so grateful for mine.
I look back to the tops of my children's heads. I smile at their determined faces bent over their work. I'm here with my children. I am enjoying the late afternoon sunlight sprinkled on the table, knowing dinner is warm on the stove and I feel like the luckiest mom on the planet. THIS is what makes me happy. Right at this moment, I'm at my best and most peaceful place in the world when I am with them.
Seeds to Share
Isaiah 54:13 - All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great will be their peace.
Mark 10: 13-16 - People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.