My friend coined the term “joy hoarding” when her cat would gather all of her favorite toys: string, feather, catnip mouse, etc and bring them all to the middle of the floor and then lay among them, tail twitching in delight as she purred and encouraged my friend to play with her.
This image often comes to mind because I realize that I do quite a bit of joy hoarding myself. Like that huge party I had a few weeks ago. Sure, it was a lot of work getting ready and as the hostess, I felt like I barely got to really visit with anyone. But there I was, in my gorgeous yard, surrounded by most of my favorite people, drinking good beer, enjoying the beautiful summer weather… joy hoarding.
Last week felt like a joy hoarding week for me as I got to spend time with a lot of friends all in one short week. Tuesday with my grandparents, Wednesday with a couple girlfriends, Thursday a couple other girlfriends, Friday catching up with a friend, Saturday working at my house on the fence with my brother and his wife, dinner out with a friend, Sunday brunch with friends, some quiet down time, softball (my teams playing each other which is always my favorite), and then friends over afterward. A very full week of joy hoarding!!
Last night I had an unexpected weeknight off (I should have known it was coming but forgot to take my regular appointment off my calendar). I call those bonus nights. Because to have an unexpected evening free feels like winning the lottery. BONUS!!! It was hot and humid, and somehow I still love it. I pulled out the cabinet I’ve been stripping for weeks and dragged it onto the patio. I removed the back and doors and did a lot more sanding. And then painted the first coat of paint on it. So there I was, on my own patio, enjoying my gorgeous yard, the birds singing, pigeons flying overhead, the dogs lounging on the patio nearby, lime in my ice water, a soft breeze on the humid air, some much needed alone time after all the socializing in the last week– joy hoarding.
Sometimes I hesitate to write stuff like this because I feel that it makes my life look unrealistically charmed. It isn’t. There are hard things, heartbreak. There’s that empty bank account and relationships that need work. There’s the loneliness of the single life, the exhaustion from my job, my house, my life. There are days I just cannot get my act together (in countless ways) and those two baskets of unfolded laundry wrinkling as we speak. There is frustration of constantly running headlong into my own weakness and limitations. So I’m not saying that I live some kind of charmed, idyllic life. Far from it.
What I am saying is that there is joy to be found every time I look. So I am intentionally looking and finding the many, many blessings in my life and thanking the Father who loves me with such abundance.
“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” John 15:9-11
What are you joy hoarding today?