Happiness comes in odd packages.
Tonight I feel surprised by happiness.
I feel happy about choosing my own Christmas. Maybe I could like it after all…? I feel happy about the room I decorated—just one room, at the suggestion of my friend Amy. I feel happy about real evergreen and hemlock, real pine cones and leaves, real twigs and berries. I feel happy about homemade snowflakes on the window panes, the way they take the chill off the early darkness because of how it makes them pop.
I feel happy about Wednesday, the day my friend Cynthia is going to teach me how to make coconut candy.
I feel happy about pumpkin pie, made with pumpkins from our garden—used as décor all autumn, now baked, pureed, and frozen for good things this winter. I feel happy to share a pie with a friend, and get a huge plate of Christmas cookies in return.
I feel happy because this year we are finally hosting a Christmas hymn sing—a bunch of friends who love to sing too, coming over for food and carols on a Sunday night.
I feel happy about December 19—the night some close friends offered to take us out for dinner as a Christmas gift, with babysitting and kids’ supper provided. Shrieks of delight. And you ought to hear the kids…
I feel happy about our plans to celebrate the birthday of The Boss* this week.
*(Yes. That’s right. I confess I do not feel especially happy that he is The Boss again. I suspect that he really wanted to save face here on my blog, to reappear in power. That is why he was so careful to remember the date. But I could be wrong.)
I feel happy when I water my 25 houseplants, and think how I moved here a year ago with just two.
I feel happy when I check my email, and find kind words from my sis-in-law, and others…
I feel happy that my friend Ada shared her amazing fruitcake recipe with me. I’ve been craving it for three or four Christmases now, since the first time she gave me one. Someone mentioned fruitcake on this blog (Alvin S, I think) and suddenly I was possessed of the need to bake some. At once.
I feel happy after Communion at church last night. I love Communion. I hope I don’t talk too much about my church. Not everyone experiences church life with joy; not everyone experiences our church life with joy. But I can’t help myself. I love the way the ladies chatter while we wash feet (we cannot be quiet; we just can’t)—the way we laugh at the sock patterns on each other’s bare feet, and warn about foot odor (not that there is any), the way we threaten to bring scrubbing brushes and foot lotion next time and do it right. The men do not understand our prattle when we compare notes later, but they have their own diversion from tradition: they wash their little sons’ feet once in a while. I love this. I love that last night my friend Carla brought dried fruit and bottled water to hand to the children when they began to cry for the bread and wine. I love the songs, and the silence, and the way people talk and cry and laugh and tell the hard things the Lord is teaching them. I leave full.
Maybe the little Happys mean more to me this week, in the midst of the big Unhappy about my sister. Tomorrow I think I can finally share words for it. I had to say the Happys first.