A childhood memory recently came to me like an old friend I had not seen for a while. I was looking outside and I suddenly recalled an old tree in the corner of the yard of my childhood home. I used to love to climb that tree. It was actually an easy climb up to the crook of the tree which was a perfect resting place just for me.
There was something special about sitting in that spot. I could sit there for what seemed like hours, perfectly happy and content. Everything looked different up there. It was a place to enjoy the moment and dream about what may be. It was as if I could see things more clearly there or maybe it was more like entering into something more real. As C.S.Lewis said:
“It was when I was happiest that I longed most…The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing…to find the place where all the beauty came from.”
Lewis often spoke about this deep longing as joy.
Along the way, we can lose the spark of joy and wonder we had as a child. Children don’t just feel joy, they embody it as they jump for joy at the sweet things in their lives like the site of a loved one walking through the door or an invitation to ice cream.
Joy can be found in a moment or discovered more deeply over time. Dallas Willard said joy is a “pervasive sense of well-being that is infused with hope because of the goodness of God.”
Despite my best efforts I have not found a tree in our yard well suited for me to climb today. I sense that I still have a need to find a place and a time to dream. Now is a great time to reimagine what it means to live a life of joy.