Dragonflies (little black specks in the picture above) greeted me in a hospitable swarm. They seemed to be welcoming me while heralding a life lesson. I’d arrived at my favorite Sunday School. As if on cue, instantly my mind travelled through time to another brick and mortar Sunday School from long,long ago as I began singing:”I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy,
down in my heart
down in my heart
down in my heart.
I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy,
down in my heart,
down in my heart to stay.”
It’s easily been 25 or more years since I heard or even thought about that song, but today my cells seemed to be shouting the chorus. Sticking there, even when I tried to quiet my mind.
Sure, you say. Easy to feel happy at the beach. Of course she’s joyful.
But that would be an incorrect generalization dear reader. I’ve done my share of moping, mourning, crying and self-pitying at the beach as well. Add questioning, blaming, whining and you’re not even close to capping the “negative energy” list of non-joyful states of mind and soul, just as likely to be experienced at the beach as anywhere else on Earth.
But not today. The far away tide line with a wide and level breadth of beach made me smile just as widely. For the past couple of months there’s been a sloped drop off, making a cooler walk in the water difficult. Today’s beach was a welcome gift.
As I walked, smiling and singing (in my head), I saw beauty in the mostly broken shells at my feet, the reciprocated greetings and smiles of strangers, the ecstatic squeals of children and the playful natures of unbuttoned folks frolicking with loved ones in the surf or simply being in the moment as they built castles large and small or let little ones bury them in the sand.
The broken shells reminded me of all of us, scratched and dented in one way or another, yet uniquely beautiful in a million more. I thought of how the reciprocated smiles and greetings from strangers help to white out the din of ugly hearted actions blasted on our airwaves these days, threatening to become our national anthem and funeral dirge all in one. Peals of carefree laughter and squeals of joy echoed ” this is what we’re meant for.”
When we’re in the depths of despair, it’s there. Whether you or I are bemoaning our wrinkles, our imperfect skin, our body shape or a serious disfigurement, it’s there. At births as well as deaths, it’s there. In cancer wards and children’s hospitals, it’s there. When we have millions in the bank or nothing in our pockets, it’s there. We’re meant to find it, not the other way around. Joy will not come looking for us. It’s not at a certain address or in a certain activity. It will not present itself on a silver platter of a paycheck. It does not come with fame. We must wipe away our tears if need be, and open our eyes to the fact that it is everywhere we choose to see it. At times we may need help with that and that’s OK. We must ask for help, seize the joy and then share it.
Back at home, I wondered about those dragonfly messengers. I learned from thedragonfly-site.com that in many cultures they’re symbolic of change and “change in the perspective of self-realization” the kind rooted in mental and emotional maturity and understanding of the deeper meaning of life. Flying for only a fraction of its entire life, the dragonfly is said to symbolize living life to the fullest, appreciating each moment. Its 360 degree eyesight, symbolizes the ability to see beyond our human limitations.
Those dragonflies had a message for me and for you. There is more than meets the eyes. Slow down, breathe deeply, quiet your mind. Get out in nature. Joy is there. Wherever you are. They promise.
Peace and Love