It was a sweltering summer afternoon. My husband had had a recent accident and was in a lot of pain, and I was worried about him. To make matters worse, I was scheduled to leave the country in a few days, and I wasn’t sure that would be possible. I bent over the low fence that kept rabbits and groundhogs out of the vegetable garden, sweating and worrying as I weeded the chard, basil, and onions.
Suddenly I felt the light touch of a breeze at my back. It was a gentle tap of relief through the stalled heat of the air. I paused, stood. I welcomed the breeze onto the small of my back. Another breeze followed. This time I turned in response. I turned my face up to the sky, opened my arms wide, and just stood there to receive it.
Little gifts of beauty, generosity, or humor are delights in the midst of any instant, but they are especially welcome when we’re suffering. When those moments come to us, we will do well to recognize them for the wisps of winged grace that they are, and indulge in them fully. The temptation may be to dismiss them, to think: I don’t have time for this or even I don’t deserve to feel happy.
Gift-moments are not harbingers that circumstances are about to change for the better. But they are little darts of marvel that remind us that the world goes on in its grief and its celebration and that we are part of it and capable of a vast range of experiences at any time.
Open your arms to the moments of radical joy in hard times!
Trebbe Johnson

Trebbe Johnson
Trebbe JohnsonFounder
Trebbe is the author of The World Is a Waiting Lover and 101 Ways to Make Guerrilla Beauty. Her new book, Radical Joy for Hard Times: Finding Meaning and Making Beauty, will be published in Fall 2018 by North Atlantic Books. Her articles about people’s emotional and spiritual relationship with nature have appeared in Orion, Sierra, Ecopsychology, The Ecologist, The Nation, Harper’s and other magazines. She lives with her husband, Andrew Gardner, in rural northeastern Pennsylvania, a region currently under exploitation by natural gas companies.

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Radical Joy Revealed is a weekly message of inspiration about finding and making beauty in wounded places.