The Joy All Around Us

We have heard it all our lives – take time to stop and smell the roses.

Most of us think we do, but the truth is our busy lives keep us hopping from dawn till long after dark. We work endless hours for the material things we think we need in order to be happy – a large home, an expensive car, and the newest model cell phone. We tend to live by the motto, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” But even with all the material possessions we manage to accumulate, too many of us are still unhappy because there is little real joy in our lives. The worst part is most of us can’t explain why we feel this way.

I think it is because we have forgotten our reason for being here, and the simple rule we learned as children: the best things in life are free.

We were bestowed the gift of being guardians of our planet, and our reward for this privilege is a wealth of things to enjoy, things that are wonderful and cost nothing, things that are everywhere we look, just waiting for us to notice. If we take the time to see, we find these often overlooked things have the power stop us in our tracks and stun us with their beauty. They offer us the chance to recapture the sense of wonder we used to have when our hearts and minds were young, back before we had ever heard of crime, race problems, or political corruption, and long before we learned we would become adults who are expected to work ourselves to death to “keep up with the Joneses.”

Imagine if you could be magically transported back to that time when you first noticed the world and all its grandeur, when you looked at everything through the innocent eyes of a child. Now imagine that all you have to do to experience this wonderful feeling again is to invest a few moments of your busy day. Is it really possible? Yes. To quote John Lennon, “It’s easy if you try.”

When was the last time you spread a blanket on the lawn, cupped your hands behind your head, and looked at the stars?

When was the last time you examined the intricate pattern of a lilac, inhaled its intoxicating scent, or watched the way bees and butterflies work their way from flower to flower?

When was the last time you played in the rain, opening your mouth to catch a raindrop on your tongue, or jumped in a puddle just to watch it splash?

Photo by RJ Starr, catching sunset in Miami

Photo by RJ Starr, catching sunset in Miami

When was the last time you sat outside and watched a sunset, trying to assign names to the breathtaking shades of pinks, purples and blues as our golden, life-sustaining orb of fire eases below the horizon?

When was the last time you caught a lightening bug and watched it light up the inside of your gently cupped hand, or hiked to the top of a mountain and surveyed our beautiful planet in all its natural glory?

When was the last time you really looked at nature and remembered how magical all these things seemed when you first saw them with the eyes of the child you used to be?

True joy is all around us, free for the taking. And the closer we get to the child we once were, the better we become in our God-given roles as guardians of our planet. So the next time you are rushing from the parking lot to your office, take a minute to notice the world around you. Look for the praying mantis making its solitary patrol in the shrubs, or at the morning dew as it clings to the leaves and makes them glisten with promises of another glorious day. Look at the sky. Find shapes in the clouds, watch hawks making lazy circles, and always check for rainbows.

When you slow down and take the time to smell the roses, nature will reward you with the simple but unmatched joy that material things can never provide.

– Cheryl Morris

471294_111975672266028_872301409_oCheryl is a Florida native now residing in Alabama. She is an amateur photographer that has won several awards for her nature photography. She finds her job of editing and critiquing manuscripts very rewarding, especially since it gives her the time and freedom to pursue her own passion for writing. Cheryl writes historical fiction, and is the author of The Night the Stars Fell, which has now found fans on the international market. Her second novel, which is also historical fiction, is due to be published in the coming months.

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