On this serene Sunday as I sit at my desk looking out the window onto my garden, I hear the birds twittering in the mulberry tree. The sky is a cloudless azure blue. Tess lies at my feet snoring. She’s loud for a little girl. But it does not disturb the peace. Her presence fills the room with unconditional love.
I have an itch to share as best as I can, the ambience of this day with you. As I sit here pondering just how to achieve that, I find myself at the bookshelf behind me. Ann Rennie’s book The Secret Garden of Spirituality leaps out of the shelf into my hand. It has sat there untouched for quite some time. Today I want to share an excerpt with you that I think captures some of what I wish to share:
Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. Mother Teresa
“In the haste and hurry of our lives we overlook the daily joys, the small ecstasies that briefly glimpse heaven as we toil here on Earth.
We fail to see the first flush of spring blossom, the alleluia of autumn as leaves gold and russet and brown pave the streets. We do not notice the twilight sky, marble in purple and pink, its heavenly hues heralding the arrival of night’s indigo canvas and glittering lights. At dawn, we miss the chorus of magpies carolling a canticle of delight. We don’t look up after rain, to see the rainbow’s harlequin colours stooping gently over the suburbs.
Small ecstasies can go a long way. They are the diamond moments in the duller duties of the day. They are little bits of heaven, to be treasured, held close, to sustain us, when larger demands take precedence and we forget to look closely at the world around us.
It might be a child’s first word, the hug of solicitude from old friends, the meeting of minds. It might be the satisfaction of completing the crossword, the unexpected compliment or that moment of bliss when you are bathed in a benign cosmic synchronicity. It might be the first kiss or tentative smile, the possible prised open.
A small ecstasy may be found in beautiful words, in the rhapsody of fond memory, in the music that moves you beyond mere time and space to another realm. It may be the luxury of gentle solitude or shared joke between friends. It may be a daydream.
It is the cup of kindness and the bond of kith and kin. It is the radiance of the bride and the wonderment of the new father. It is the whispering wordsong of prayer, the capturing of long imagined chords that will become a concerto, the quickstep of the heart in love.
Sometimes small ecstasies come unbidden in the surprises and the certainties of the day: the ‘I love you, Mum’, the scent of roses, children playing tiggy in the park, the thankyou note, the chamomile tea made by your spouse at night, the mermaid moments of soaking in the bath, the pride in your child’s valiant third place in the school cross-country.
They are, as William Butler Yeats wrote, ‘the moments of glad grace.’
And so we should gather such moments and build on them. They are the incidental gems which can reshape a mood, a day, a life.
Recently I was touched by a small ecstasy of an elderly gentleman tipping his hat to me, rather courtly and old-fashioned as I rushed down the street to work. I treasure the large ecstasy of being one, with my daughter and brothers, of good-natured Melbourne crowd at the Myer Music Bowl, on a sun-blessed afternoon as we sang our other national anthems for a good cause, the Tsunami Concert. I revel in the small ecstasy of my nine-year-old daughter singing all the words of ‘Eagle Rock’ and her thrill in attending her first proper outdoor concert.
Small ecstasies are reminders to count our blessings, to know that our lives have meaning and resonance and are pulsed by ripples of goodness.
Small ecstasies, God-given jewelled moments, that somehow deify the daily.”
© Raili Tanska