In the French, that phrase literally means “the joy of living”. It randomly popped into my mind while I was spending time with my curly girl this past weekend. She is about to be 15 months old, and between the inevitable meltdowns that accompany learning how to do life, she is a joyful and happy little girl. She approaches every new situation with a wonderful curiosity, and always wants to know what things are. She loves to go on walks outside, and is enamored of every flower, leaf, and piece of mulch that she can find. She has a treasure collection of rocks already, proudly on display in her bathroom. She nearly falls over with excitement when she sees a dog and can’t get enough of gleefully squeezing the cat. Food is a near miracle, and you have never ever seen someone so excited about a cup of juice! She is living the life and is wringing the joy from each moment that she can.
When I stopped chipping away at the to-do list, and actually sat with her on her level and played and “talked” and got excited about what she was excited about, I realized how much joie de vivre I have lost by just becoming numb to the ordinary. The ordinary is actually quite extraordinary, if you take the time to look! That is a serious perk to having toddlers in the house – everything is new and exciting and mesmerizing and curious. If we stop to look, we may begin to think so too and be a little better at sharing in the magic of the everyday and finding joy in the ordinary.
Some of my devotionals this week were about contentment and one of the readings was the “Do Not Worry” passage from Matthew (read it in Matthew 6:25-34). I have been raised in the church and so I have read this passage a million times – but I got to thinking – my baby girl doesn’t worry about what I will dress her in that day, or if she has the appropriate clothes for the day….Mommy will take care of it. She doesn’t worry about what is for lunch, or if there is enough food for dinner tomorrow too….Mommy will take care of it. She doesn’t even wonder if we have money set aside for her college fund…Mommy and Daddy will take care of it. She has no worries, no fears, no reason to doubt. She knows that I (and her daddy) love her and will provide everything that she needs, and will give her the best that we can!
“And said, ‘Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven’.” Matthew 18:3.
As the parent, I’m supposed to be teaching her things, but really, she is teaching me. As she trusts me and does not worry, I need to trust God for the same things and not worry…God will take care of it. I need to do a little less adult thinking, and a little more childlike believing. Like Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. (Matthew 11:25-26). I think we can all do better to be a little more immature when it comes to our faith!
Have you lost your joie de vivre? If you can get back to trusting God for all that you need, maybe you can find a little piece of it again and feel some ordinary magic! I sure want that!