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Responding To An Invitation To Joy

She invited me this morning: ‘Come for a walk and experience the breeze’
‘Tomorrow, perhaps? I’ve got a busy schedule today.’ I responded.
Mid-morning, she asked me to go to the window and look at the rain-soaked leaves.
‘Not now. I’ve got a post to write.’
‘Spend ten minutes playing ball with Pablo?’ she gently asked me this evening.
‘Not today. I’ve got to finish this article.’
Every day she invites me and most often I turn her down.
She’s that voice in my head,
That invitation to joy
But I keep refusing –
Postponing joy!

If you ignore the little voice that keeps extending an invitation to joy, it may go silent. Listen. ~ Cheryl Richardson.

Today I listened. Ask me what I did? You may not believe me. But then I did tell you about slowing down.

I lay down this afternoon and fell fast asleep. I woke up when Jose called, spoke to him and went back to bed – to read and laze. All this while knowing I had a post (or two) to write, comments to answer and lots of little things to do around the house. There was another voice in my head, the one I’m more prone to listen to – guilt – but I told him to shut up and go get a life! πŸ˜‰

I want to be nice to myself. To respond to that invitation to joy every time I hear it.  I want to live in the present moment and enjoy it.

A great example in this story.

Sharing a story from his childhood in Africa, Dr Wes Stafford,  tells of the time French Colonial officials attempted to conduct a survey in a village. They wanted to know what the expectations of the people were and what they wanted in the future. Dr Stafford writes in his book, Too Small to Ignore: Why the Least of These Matters Most:

The chief and his tribal elders tried to explain to their exasperated visitors that they really didn’t know the answers to those kinds of questions, because the future had not yet arrived. When the time came to pass, then the results would be apparent. This, to be sure, made the officials less than pleased. And they left, in a huff.

That day, at dusk, the village gathered in the chief’s courtyard. He said, “I want to talk to the children tonight.”

“We are not like them,” the chief told the children. “To them time is everything… the smaller that men can measure the day, the more angry they seem to be.”

The chief went on. “The present is now–the days we live today. This is God’s gift to us. It is meant to be enjoyed and lived to the fullest. The present will flow by us, of course, and become the past. That is the way of a river, and that is the way of time. The Frenchmen cannot wait for the future to arrive. They crane their necks to see around the bend in the river. They cannot see it any better than we can, but they try and try. For some reason, it is very important for them to know what is coming toward them. They want to know it so badly that they have no respect for the river itself. They thrash their way into the present in order to see more around the bend.

They miss so much of the joy of today all around them. Did you notice that as they stormed into our village, they didn’t notice it is the best of the mango season?

Though we offered them peanuts, they did not even taste them.They did not hear the birds in the trees or the laughter in the marketplace. We touched them with our hands, but they did not really see us. They miss much of the present time, because all they care about is the unknowable, the future. The present is all we can fully know and experience, so we must.

We must love each other. We must smell the hibiscus flowers. We must hear the singing of the weaver birds and the grunts of the lions. We must taste with joy the honey and the peanut sauce on the rice. We must laugh and cry and live.”

What better invitation to joy can there be than the words of that village chief?

Are you responding positively to every invitation to joy you get?

In case you’re wondering about the comments from earlier, that’s because I’m republishing this post from 2014. I’ll confess that it was such a great reminder to me, that I was tempted to rework it and republish this post.

21 Comments

  1. Dipannita Dipannita January 9, 2017

    Such an amazing post Corinne… There is nothing like to be joyful. And this is best understood with kids. No matter whatever goes in their small world still they always surrounded with joy, happiness and fun.they are the inspiration for the adults like us.

  2. Sreeja Praveen Sreeja Praveen July 9, 2014

    Wouldn’t it be delicious if we could listen to every invitation of joy and respond to her, instead of just reacting ? πŸ™‚
    I loved the genders too , a she joy and a he guilt πŸ˜›
    Many an invitation has gone unnoticed, unanswered…but these days I try to do it, because I’ve started seeing greater beauty in each moment πŸ™‚

  3. Pixie Pixie July 4, 2014

    Its so important to enjoy the little things in life isn’t it? πŸ™‚
    we find the most joy in the smallest of things.. everyday stuff like a nap, a book, an ice cream cone.. rains! πŸ™‚

    May you always find joy in your life! πŸ™‚

    inspiring post πŸ™‚

  4. Fran Sorin Fran Sorin July 4, 2014

    Corinne-

    This piece is lovely and hit me in the heart. I believe strongly that JOY is our purpose on this earth. 99.9% of us get caught up in the ‘must do’ – when in fact, our instincts tell us much of the time to just let go and do what brings you joy. We need to listen to that ‘gremlin of a vocie’ more. Am so glad you were able to do so today. xo-Fran

  5. Jayanta Tewari Jayanta Tewari July 3, 2014

    I consider them fortunate who can pay heed to those inner voices.. That often gets crushed in mundane workload πŸ™

  6. Trish Trish July 3, 2014

    Hi Corinne,

    What a thought provoking and inspiring post! I really needed to read this today. Thank you!!

    Trish
    View from the Birdhouse

  7. Shilpa Garg Shilpa Garg July 3, 2014

    Simply beautiful and sooooo inspiring! It’s true, we usually worry about the future and forget all about the present. Recently got this message on Whatsapp, which said, “today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday!” We must truly live and savor the present and listen to that little voice more often! πŸ™‚

  8. Bhavya Bhavya July 3, 2014

    Even if we say this in a million ways, people will still dissect time and continue to waste precious moments they can spend making memories and staying happy. Lovely post as always Corinne.

  9. Suzy Suzy July 3, 2014

    A good reminder to stop and smell the roses, savour each moment and do the things that really matter – like playing ball with Pablo. Nice post Corinne.

  10. usha menon usha menon July 3, 2014

    Corrine, this is a very inspiring post.

  11. Tina Tina July 3, 2014

    wonderful post. How small little things brings a smile on face

  12. Diana Pinto Diana Pinto July 3, 2014

    Enjoying our present life to the fullest is the key to a happy life. …Inspiring post Corinne.

  13. Fab Fab July 3, 2014

    Lovely post!!! The story about the Frenchmen thrashing through the river is such a perfect analogy for what we do nowadays, always wanting to know what’s beyond the bend; once we get there, we want to know what’s beyond the next bend!

  14. Martha Orlando Martha Orlando July 3, 2014

    Oh, yes! Responding with joy in the present moment! That’s what life is truly all about. And, I’m so glad you told “Guilt” to take a hike. Hope it’s a LONG one! πŸ™‚
    Blessings, Corinne!

  15. Vidya Sury Vidya Sury July 2, 2014

    Yes, love is spelled Time. πŸ™‚ And so is Joy! I respond more often now than I did before.

    I love how you’ve made Joy a “she” and Guilt a “he”.

  16. ships ships July 2, 2014

    Beautifully written:) loved it…

  17. Little White Dinosaur Little White Dinosaur July 2, 2014

    So glad you listened to Joy and took time for yourself. It can be really hard to not listen to “guilt” – I’m trying to remember I need to take more time out for myself, without feeling guilty. Thanks for the inspiration.

  18. Susan Evans Susan Evans July 2, 2014

    β€œTo them time is everything… the smaller that men can measure the day, the more angry they seem to be.” – wow! This is a very sobering thought. I also want to live in the moment and not miss it.

  19. Laurel Regan Laurel Regan July 2, 2014

    Beautiful and inspirational post! So often the joy comes from the little things, and so often we miss out by being too busy or inattentive. Thank you for the reminder.

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