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A sunset view on a boat dock in Florida.

Lingering Joy

Kristy Dodson
Kristy Dodson

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It is a new year, but I do not feel ready. There is much pressure to start fresh in January. Wake up feeling energized and ready to make all things better. However, I do not feel ready. I need time to soak in the past twelve months. To move ahead I need to sit a while with my thoughts and experience lingering joy.

Look Up

The flipping of the calendar page does not cause me to switch my mind to all things new. In fact, I often do just the opposite. I take time to reminisce and reflect. There is so much that transpires over a year. While I am living through my daily pursuits, I believe that I am present and absorbing the moment. A conversation made me consider that maybe I am spectating more than fully engaging. This is not the complete picture. I know I am engaged but there is an essential element to living fully that must be realized and that is reflection. When the days move quickly, I forget to take a break, look up, and breathe in what is happening. There is a joy that longs to be lingered within and recognized.

A lady on top of a mountain facing the sky and seeing rolling hills.

Life's Lingering Joy

That is what I see January doing for us. It is a time to look around and see what has just transpired. Take time to give ourselves credit for all that has happened. I so enjoy the feature on my phone that randomly shares a photo memory and often creates a quick movie for me. These pop-ups always stop me in my tracks. They are short but full of reflection. They show me the small details of the days that are often overlooked but tend to be the whole.  I am amazed at how much is packed into twelve months.

A comment from a friend or the act of cleaning out takes my breath away and shows me how much joy has been sweeping through my days. Without intentionally looking back at the journey, we may rob ourselves of our life’s lingering joy.

January

So, what am I doing? This January I am working hard to set a slow steady pace; a pace that allows for deep breaths and room to think. This is difficult to do if we don’t shut out some of the noise and influence around us. There can be as much interference in our thoughts as we wish to allow; that is the easy part. The difficulty is separating ourselves from the disturbances. In other words, we must stop the scroll. I am seeking projects that busy my hands while allowing free space to accumulate in my head. This gives me time to think.

A long row of wooden steps going down a steep mountainside.

Switch It Up

I recently purchased a jigsaw puzzle at a thrift store. I had not planned to do this but there it was. At first, I was drawn to the peaceful view. The picture involved a flow of color, flowers, and the window view of a city plant shop and it made me want to be there.  Now I know that my soul was longing for the quiet, undisturbed time that a puzzle offers. I was home alone most of that weekend and found myself losing track of time late into the night as I rambled through the colorful puzzle pieces. My hands were busy in a restful way. My mind was allowed to wonder, remember, and dream.  Lingering joy begins when we allow ourselves to rest and switch up our plans.

A completed puzzle of a shop window with patchwork carpet and florals on a table

What Moves Me

Reading is also top of my list this month. I guess I can say that I am a new reader. I have always read, but often only what was necessary, required, or sought-after by the masses. Now I am on a journey to find writers that I enjoy. I am drifting away from recommendations and focusing on what moves me. I started a list in the notes section on my phone. I make quick notes about authors, book titles, and genres. I have this with me every time I visit a thrift store or bookstore. It makes for quick reference and helps me find what I long to read and keeps me from falling into what is popular.  This list paid off during my last visit to the local thrift store. I found the first book that started this list. I am reading The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. No one has ever mentioned this rich storyteller to me. This will be my third Diamant book and I cannot put it down.

I lingered a while in the historical and modern fiction sections and found several other books that I’ll soon read. This month I am stepping away from the noise. I’m taking time to be still. Reading lets my mind escape while filling it with creativity.

Lingering Joy

January brings so much expectation. Why has this become such a hyped-up time? This is an ideal time to consider what has already come about. A time to soak it all in and linger in the joy of the past twelve months. From the silly pictures of us with curlers in our hair to the life-changing moments of weddings and new houses, our lives are full and complex. Like a puzzle or a well-written novel, beginnings can be an overwhelming big picture if we are not careful. So, this January, may we all find breathing space and renewed strength while we rest for just a while in lingering joy.

Stay Curious,

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