As I drove toward the intersection, the light turned yellow, then red. I stopped, thankful that at least I would be the first driver out of the gate after this, the longest stoplight on our route. A red pickup truck pulled beside our car on the driver’s side, and I saw a little smiling face looking at me from the passenger window. I was eye-to-eye with a girl about 5 or 6 years old. Her glistening eyes kept looking at me. Joy flooded her face. I stared wide-eyed at her and instinctively smiled back.
When she looked away briefly to dance a doll on her knees, I continued grumbling to my husband about our late start to meet our son, daughter-in-law and grandson for his birthday dinner.
Turning back to my left, there she was again with that generous smile of innocent friendliness! Her smile was so contagious that my shoulders relaxed and I felt anxiety drain from my body. I motioned to my husband to notice the smiling girl in the truck beside us. He commented about her beautiful smile.
We stared and smiled at her beaming face with delight until she turned to respond to a man in the driver’s seat next to her, probably her father. Then I saw the rosary hanging from the rear view mirror and praised God that he sent this moment of joy from a Christian Catholic family.
Soon she was back smiling at us unabashedly. Then the light turned green, the truck turned left and we headed for the state highway ahead.
Did she wave goodbye? I couldn’t tell, but wished I could give her a sign of my thankfulness for lightening my heart of the worry of arriving late for dinner.
In the minute or two it took for the light to change from red to green, she gave me the gift of pure joy! Her shining face reminded me that joy is a gift from God. As Pope Saint John Paul II said:
God made us for joy. God is joy, and the joy of living reflects the original joy that God felt in creating us.
What moments of unexpected joy can you discover today?
(© 2015 Nancy H C Ward)