I know it's only February 8th, but this year I've been surprised at how much joy I've already taken in a few simple pleasures.
A few weeks ago, Jason took me to Petco to see the puppies. One of my birthday wishes had been to "pet fuzzy things," and a couple local agencies regularly bring their adoptable dogs to Petco on Saturday afternoons. I think the last puppy I'd pet till that point was Scout - a friend's German Shepherd who is now four years old. Needless to say (why is that even a saying?), it was time for a puppy fix.
I went into the store reminding myself that Jason and I are NOT ready for a dog. With two children still in diapers, I need nothing else in my life that poops. But I very nearly fell in love with a brown mutt that looked something like a stocky Italian greyhound. The dog wasn't attractive, but it had a sweet disposition. And I congratulated myself for seeing the beauty in the beast. Hours after our visit, I was still smiling.
Another one of my simple pleasures took the form of a sci-fi novel. Yes, a Sci-fi novel. I was between Dorothy Sayers' Murder Mystery books and wanted to read something. I remembered a recommendation from an acquaintance and pulled C.S. Lewis' "Out of the Silent Planet" from the shelf.
I don't think I've read a sci-fi book since high school. Maybe middle school. I rolled my eyes a couple times reading about space travel, but soon Lewis' images and dialogue got the better of me. That man had so many majestic thoughts. His story exercised some imagination muscles I haven't flexed in a while. Isn't it funny how reading fiction can sometimes enlarge your view of "The Greatest Story Ever Told"? His book reminded me that God is the absolute Ruler and Creator of all the stars, planets, peoples, and cosmos in general.
Then yesterday, I couldn't stand it any longer and started digging in the garden. Yes, it is only Feb. 8th. Yes, I know that anything I plant will probably get killed once Chattanooga remembers it's still winter. But I figured all this did not disqualify me from taking the decorative rocks out of my yard in preparation for tilling. Nor did it forbid me from transplanting my daffodils and irises from the back yard to the front where all humanity could enjoy them. Neither have bloomed yet, and the daffodils are kind of floppy now... hopefully I didn't kill them.
Nevertheless, it felt good to work the soil. One of my neighbors even joined me for the fun. At first, I felt annoyed when he dug outside "my lines." But then I remembered that this whole gardening thing was supposed to be for God's glory -- not mine. He's the one who makes it grow anyhow, and I don't think He'd be too honored if I mowed my neighbors down in the planting process. Anyway, the kids and I had fun in the dirt -- and they took baths later to prove it.
Finally with all the change in weather, I've caught a smallish cold, and my hot tea tasted all the more amazing today.
Thus, I shall leave you with two great quotes. God gets to go first: "Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches but on God, who richly supplies us with ALL THINGS TO ENJOY." 1 Timothy 6:17
And from my sci-fi novel: "[Ransom's] old terrors of meeting some monster or idol had quite left him: he felt nervous as he remembered feeling on the morning of an examination when he was an undergraduate. More than anything in the world he would have liked a cup of good tea." ~ C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet, p. 118
It's only February 8th. But I think it's going to be a good year.