The Small Scale


License plate I saw while driving:

“Dare to be outrageously happy and notice the changes around you.”

My first reaction was to make a rude sound with my tongue. Followed by-Ha! Seriously? It’s not like that’s an easy choice for a lot of us.

I know, I know that “happiness is a choice” has some truth in it. The underlying glibness that it implies really irks me, though. We can’t allow ourselves to become total victims of our circumstances, tossed like a rag doll on a trampoline. And yet, let’s be honest, we are so often tossed by such things as:

  • A bout of depression (Elise raises her hand)
  • A creative dry-spell (Elise raises her hand)
  • A loss of property (Elise raises her hand. Someone stole our car, in case you’re curious.)

For several days now, happiness hasn’t felt like a particularly viable option for me. Sure, I have my moments where I laugh or smile, and I’m surrounded by loving family, and my boys are both healthy and well, but I still struggle under this fog.

The pale January sky above me does not hold the answers for these feelings that evade me.

Habits are funny things. I don’t know where some of mine come from, but this one happens right as I wake. I run down a list of things I’m thankful for. The routine might have begun when I read One Thousand Gifts, but, however it got there, for someone who defaults to grumbling, it’s an excellent pattern.

I remember my husband’s patient tenderness with me, my son’s buoyant bounce in his crib as he waits for me to lift him into my arms.

The things that bring me joy are so small, I’d miss them entirely on those days when my pen spits brilliant dialogue or my optimism is filling me with new ideas for improving my life. Because on those days, I’m too busy to slow down.

So I hold me son’s little hand while he lays his head in my lap and I look at the golden star-glow on my Christmas tree and I later that evening I lean against my husband’s chest as we watch Downton Abbey and I know it’s all going to be okay, even if it really doesn’t feel like it right now.

Yesterday I was in tears because I had to call back four times to schedule and reschedule an appointment that agreed on the availability of my doctor, myself, and my babysitter. This happens. This does not define me, though I walk through it.

Being brave, putting on a smile, and throwing myself into loving a little boy who relies on me is helpful, too. My Guppy runs across the room to hug me, multiple times a day.

This is what I’m saying: When I can’t find cause for joy in my day to day, sometimes narrowing my focus and searching at a smaller scale is the key.


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