Being willfully joyful

The title to this post sounds like it doesn’t make sense but sometimes you have to forge through the sludge in your life, or sludge others throw into your life-you slog through it. Dig in your heels and push right through it, teeth clenched, fists balled and you say, I am SO going to be joyful! Refusing to be sucked under. Willful joy. Stubborn joy-no matter WHAT.

The composition of the sludge isn’t important,  what’s important is slogging past it. Clamping on your boots and marching forward-hauling one boot out of the muck at a time. Slow but sure progress.

I was deep in muck today but it was in the 60’s -and time to get down to the nursery to see if they had snap pea seedlings. The ume are blooming, it’s spring’s wake-up call. The timing couldn’t have been better. I needed alarm bells today to jar me into awareness. I was sinking and needed to pull myself up by the bootstraps.


I refuse to allow circumstances to pull me under. That’s where willful joy becomes necessary.

Camera battery charged, I planned to make a day out of it. I took the long way to the nursery. Time to walk, pray, savor the now, clear the stink. Sludge stinks-ever smell it? They used to spray sludge on the fields back in Wisconsin. They used it for fertilizer-so it is good for something. Once the sludge sets in it begins to dissolve, giving precious nutrients to hungry plants. The stink goes away after a while.

So I walked and allowed the nutrients to seep in. To change from sludge to joy.

I passed a home that at first glance seemed rather drab to me….but for some reason I backed up to take a look at it again. Then I saw what it would soon be-once the garden was bursting vegetable full. I could envision it. Sweet little cottage garden right out the front door. That made me smile. Wasn’t much now-but it would be.


I thought…yeah…that’s it..have the faith to see what is not there but will be. This is what I need to do today.

I felt my sight change. Felt the stink lift. Felt the nutrients seep in, deep.


I saw this black and white- illuminated by the sun and shining golden.

The nursery was not far now. Just across from the big pine.


They didn’t have much but they did have my snap peas and even, lettuce. With 500 yen left over I had enough for a can of coffee and a cinnamon raisin roll at the farmer’s market.

While sitting on the bench, people watching I had an idea. A few months ago I took photos in the market and wrote a blog post. I had my roaming tablet with me today so I found that post and then wandered around and found all the vegetable sellers I had taken photos of and let them see their photos on my “famous” blog.

You would have thought that they were on national news. The fishmonger grabbed my tablet and ran around, excited-telling and showing all the other fishmongers how she was featured in the foreign writer’s blog. I couldn’t have made a better decision.

Spreading joy-willfully. Caused quite a commotion in the farmer’s market today. I’m still smiling about it.

I took the other long way home. Busy snapping photos of all the gardens that would be.

Breathing inspiration for my own little patch of earth.

Almost home, nanohana springing up near the bamboo grove, reminded me again…spring is on the edge and things will be fresh and new again. What a blessing it is that after the winter comes the spring!


Back home, walking clothes changed for garden garb-my old red apron with the funky pink teddy bear applique, stained gloves and blue flowered garden boots-I was satisfied. Digging in the dirt-heaven.

Got the snap peas in, the lettuce down and finally got that blueberry from Mrs. NG set in its new home.

Yes-sir’ee….The garden is starting to awaken. I stood back and smiled. You can either let sludge weigh you down or you can let it feed you. You can push through the stink and grab the nutrients on your way out.

Thank God that there is always this rebirth and renewal.

“Behold and see that I make all things new”-indeed He does.



2 thoughts on “Being willfully joyful

  1. I smiled, envisioning the fish monger, in her white plastic apron and rubber boots, excitedly sharing her moment of fame with her friends. It is just like being on TV! I think as foreigners here we have an obligation to show the best side of our country and represent it so that stereotypes are broken and the Japanese can see that foreigners are just like them. You did an excellent job doing that today. Language differences aside, inside, everyone has the same feelings and dreams. Keep up those great public relations!

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