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Ode to Joy

Written by: Misty Smalley
Published: June 2014

This spring more than many in years past, I am finding joy.

Perhaps it is that the long, long, winter thankfully met its end after a particularly valiant fight. Or the sun-warmed breeze that gently tickles my skin as it passes. Or the heart-flutters I experience while watching my darling children play in the lush green of the backyard.

Or just the wonderment of descending my front stairs without landing in an awkward heap on the ice.

Yes, I could attribute my joy to any of these wonderful things... but this year I believe that it is gardening.

Even when the snow was falling and the frigid wind whipping, my basement provided the warmth and light to coax dormant life forces into activity. Tiny green sprouts bravely peeked out and began their journey toward full potential. And I helped. I was joyful to find that first bloom, and I continue to be joyful at each additional one anew. It is such a strange, childish is almost embarrassing. But why be embarrassed? We grown-ups are miserly in our joy for no reason other than how we think it makes us look to others. Vulnerable, silly.

I've decided that I don't care. I've been guilty of squelching my own joy for too long. Gardening is fun and I like it, so I'm going to keep doing it. Joyously. There is an irony here that is not lost on me. I was the kid who despised being hauled out to our enormous garden on an otherwise perfectly good Saturday. The planting and weeding and even harvesting were nothing more than work. Not enjoyable. I swore I would never do this to my kids.

About four years ago, however, my children showed interest in gardening. With loving parental encouragement, I told them stories of my childhood gardening experience...only I changed the haranguing tone in my head to a positive one as it escaped my lips. What wonderful things we grew! How delicious! How magical to make tiny little dried up seeds into green, living plants!

And suddenly, I wanted to do it, too. Changing the story worked for me as well as it did for them.

It is a metaphor for many things in this life, I suppose. If you don't like the backstory, change it. Take something old and make it positive and new, believe it and find joy. Happy Gardening!

Misty Smalley

Misty Smalley

Misty Smalley is an HR leader and writer who actively pursues interests in executive coaching, organizational development and training design. A life-long learner, she joyfully strives to help others to explore the meaning in their own journeys, then to express it authentically.