It's 5a.m. and the rooster crows. And by rooster, I mean my alarm that sounds like a rooster. Loud. Obnoxious. And loud. Really loud. The numb hand, tingly from hiding under my pillow and face, presses snooze and swollen eyes open to find darkness ruling the morning, the sun still sleeping.
And something churns inside of me... jealousy of the sun. Frustration reigns as the bright comforter is thrown off, too happily colored for the dark, grumpy morning. Contacts somehow sit on eyes still trying to close and revisit dreams. Morning continues to go on, and nothing really is wrong, but nothing feels right either. The rain cloud isn't just passing through, but it is hovering around my body, enveloping me in gray heaviness and calling my mind to shut down. Hours later, grumpiness still reigns, weighing heavily on my heart.
For those of you who don't know me, this probably does not seem weird or out of the ordinary. But for those that do, you can probably attest to the fact that this is not the norm. In fact, I've been known to be in irritatingly good moods in the morning, and overly cheerful in times that should normally lack cheerfulness. I even made a comment in class one day recently that caused the whole bunch to laugh at the irony of the positivity, and my professor stated, "I think Miranda could make anything positive."
Needless to say, my crazy mood this particular day simply befuddles me. And this is not to say that I don't have sad days or moments... but the incessant grumpiness is abnormal. No doubt about it. And as I pout and groan, I realize I need to try to find the joy, and I do try... only to stop trying. My mind whines, inner voice saying *read in a squeaky, irritating, tear-filled voice* "Do I have to look for joy??? You. can't. make. me..."
And I refuse to accept the joy that is around me.
For hours, I focus on the inner groaning and heart heaviness. I make a choice to do so.
And then it happens. I open my mouth to share a presentation with my supervisor and coworkers, and I warn them of my supremely drab day and mind still foggy with sleepiness. And as I tell my supervisor, I start giggling... then belly-laughing. Don't ask me why... All I know is that somehow the confession leads me to joy, and my heart suddenly becomes grateful for a grouchy day. Oh, the irony.
So later that day, I sit down to my list.... the list of God gifts that I usually write and number all throughout the day, but pushed away on this particular day. And I go back to the beginning when the rooster crows. And I start the list for the day, smiling all the while because the day is so full of gifts. The gifts I ignored in the moment, but praise God for now.
I can't start the morning over, but I can smile and reflect and learn from the hard moments. And you know what?? I'm thankful for those hard moments.
Although I don't always have a choice in how my days begin, I do have a choice in what my days become. The key that unlocks the secret joy is to remember to actively seek the joy, even when it's a hidden treasure, hard to find.
I'm still counting the gifts, and after my rough day, there is a new pleasure in the counting.
259... The sound of a tongue smacking behind me as I put peanut butter on crackers (Darcy's tongue, of course!)
260... Watching Tangled three times in one weekend
265... Finding Darcy on the couch when I come out of the shower (having pushed back the pillows meant to keep her off.... see below.)
267... Fresh fruit smells
270... Holding 2 week old Hannah Leanne Harrell
278... Sharing prayer with my best friend
279... Orange stars and dimpled peel
286... Client growing each week, hope to a weary therapist heart
288... Having a grumpy day and being okay with the grumpiness making it better
298... Trying to be still in God's presence when life overwhelms
300... Two phone dates with best friend in one day
302... Realizing my areas of vulnerability
308... Clean dishes
309... Burnt popcorn....
314... Early morning with coworkers Dr. Vander Veer, Cynthia, a Tiger, Dr. V's twin Valerie, and Mary (not pictured) helping at a 5K race at my practicum site
317... Darcy sneaking the whipped cream off of my milkshake when I wasn't watching
319... Rainy morning, clear afternoon
323... Walking outside without a coat
324... Rainbow beam floating on steps
326... Evening shadows
327... Air conditioner needed for the first time in 2011!
335... Dog nose on human toes
What are you grateful for today?
For more gratitude lists, visit Ann's blog: