It's 9am. The fields are white with frost. Yesterday's wet muddy footprints fossilised in time until the great winter bauble of fire rises a little higher in the sky. The skies are blue, the sea a lake of glass and the last of the leaves lie on the ground patterned pretty with frost.
I see her coming over a little mound in the distance. A colourful woollen hat upon her head, a pole in either hand, and a little terrier by her side.
As we meet, she smiles a big, warm smile and tells me how nice it is to see me, even though I'm certain I don't know her at all. We stand talking for a while. She's 91 and her eyes are full of light. There's joy inside her. You can see when there is joy inside a person. It's right there in their eyes.
She tells me how beautiful this place is. How special the light. Just like Jack, age is meaningless to her. She's fully engaged. She's here and breathing so there's joy to be had. The bones and joints might ache and life has likely delivered some mighty blows, but she's here and breathing and there's joy in that.
Sometimes it feels like joy isn't available. Sometimes it feels like joy can't come back until circumstances change. But life is always unfolding. Sometimes we could label that unfolding "good" and sometimes we could label that unfolding "bad". But there's no control over the unfolding of life. 10:30am tells us nothing at all about what life might be like at 10:31am.
The bills aren't paid. The man left. The body is sick. No matter. You don't have to give joy over to the outside. The outside will keep changing, with or without your consent. Your joy is dictated by the lens through which you view the unfolding. It's an inside job. Always. And the light in your own eyes is never more than a thought away.
Know that you can be joy, now, if you choose to make it so.
Love and courage,