Last night my husband rubbed my sore shoulders. It felt so good that I breathed a sigh of rapture...but I was anxious the entire time.
Ha! I know that doesn't seem to make much sense but the thing is that shoulder rubs never last quite long enough for me. Keep in mind that I grew up the youngest of my family, so I was always the Back Scratcher rather than the Scratchee. To have my back scratched, then, or my shoulders rubbed or my feet massaged, or my hair played with, is a decadent delight that I just can't quite enjoy because I anticipate that at any moment, it will end. Yes, this session of shoulder rubbing may have lasted for three minutes, but it's unlikely that it will last much longer... so instead of enjoying those three minutes I anticipate the end with anxious disappointment. I'm goofy that way.
This morning, I snuggled my baby. Grace was warm and sleepy and she sort of melted into my arms; in that stage of morning sleepiness where she was content to suck her fingers and let me hold her tightly against me, her forehead pressed close to my cheek and her sweet morning breath, slow blinks and stillness of content driving me just about crazy with love. The moment was more valuable to me than a treasure trove (or a $10,000 shopping spree at TJ Maxx... which is really saying something...) but again, my heart vacillated between deep, endless contentment and sadness--actual grieving-- at the fact that the moment would end soon, and in a few months the snuggles would be rarer, and never again would she be quite so small and squishy and perfectly "baby" as she is now.
Moments ago I sat on my beautiful little back porch. Cup of coffee, good book, birds singing around me and the verdant green of Summer around and above me because tree branches are welcome infringers on our porch space. I stopped and breathed it in and looked around, and the happy contentment grew cloudy with disappointment that Summer will be gone soon, and mornings will be too cool to sit on my porch, and I'll have to retreat to the living room for my morning devotions again before I know it.
Do I sound melodramatic, or foolish? I am, a little. I know it.
I grieve the passing of a moment before it is even gone, often. I don't like that about myself. I suppose in my desire to cherish small joys and treasure big ones, I dread their end prematurely. Am I ungrateful and foolish, or is it that as I grow older wisdom has opened my eyes to see the transience of joy more than I used to? I'm not sure... I suppose it would be a blend of the two. I do know this, though: I know that every time my heart longs to hold on to a joy for just a bit longer, or feels sadness of one passing away, I'm reminded that a day is coming when joy will not end. When I will live in the very presence of the purest Joy my heart has ever known; joy such as I can only fathom in a tiny way through the love of my husband or the sweetness of my baby girl or the bright, musical peace of a Summer morning on my porch.
So, I will channel that longing I feel when joy fills me and then I feel it sift through my fingers fleetingly like sand. I will ask Father to help me to watch it escape me without greedy grasping; with peace. With thankfulness. He's given me earth joys because He loves me and because He is kind and beautiful and SUCH a Giver. But He hasn't given them to me so I can grasp them. He's given them to help me remember that in HIS presence is FULLNESS of joy... at HIS right hand are pleasures FOREVERMORE (Psalm 16:11)!!! And they won't end! His presence will be the fulfillment of every minutely beautiful and happy thing that has ever made my heart smile, and when I am there, with Him eternally, I will no longer have to wonder when it will end or how long it will last, or why I can't fully enter into it.
A loving shoulder rub, my Beebee's snuggles, this Summer morning... they all point me to His presence where Joy is full and pleasures won't end. I'll remember that and I'll love Him more, anticipating my life with Him, when the fleeting earth-sadness clouds my enjoyment of all this.