“You will go out in joy, and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” (Is 55:12)

We live by a golf course. Early in the morning, before the golfers begin their rounds, we walk our dog, Champ, along the course. Awhile back, I noticed that Champ walks differently from how I walk.

Champ is always so excited when it is time for his walk. As soon as he hears the word “walk” or sees us put on our shoes, he bounds toward the door, jumping up and down, spinning in circles. He can hardly contain his excitement.

As I walk Champ, I stay along the paved cart paths which keep my shoes from getting soaked and muddy in the morning dew. Champ, on the other hand, is all over the place. He’s smelling every plant, watching out for unsuspecting squirrels, bounding through the tall grasses, and jumping in the lake. He is an utter picture of joy.

We both take the same walk. We both get exercise. I manage my walk very efficiently, never getting my shoes dirty and never changing my stride. Champ enjoys his highlight of the day reveling in pure joy. 

Every day we have a walk to take. There’s no way around it. Some days are sunny. Many days are rainy as we walk through the events and trials of our day. Yet, we have a choice about how we take that walk. To walk like Champ in sheer joy is not a question of positive thinking or pretending; it is simply a choice to take the walk differently. Do we see our day filled with threats and challenges, or adventure and opportunities? Are we going through the motions or expectantly watching to see where God might take us?

Is it possible that our mundane days can be transformed into an occasion for joy? At times, I have experienced it in my life and seen it in the lives of others around me. It doesn’t happen every day, because I so easily revert back to my careful plodding on the cart path. Contrary to what we think, we needn’t become free-spirited and unproductive to walk differently. One day at a time, we choose to find joy. We learn to punctuate the ordinary with the divine. On those days when the storms are threatening and joy seems unimaginable, we go out and create joy. It may be a short conversation with a co-worker, or an intentional pause to take a deep, relaxed breath. If we thought for a few moments, we could all come up with a hundred ways to sprinkle our ordinary days with joy. With eyes wide open, “the mountains and the hills will burst into song before you.” 

What a great surprise when the mundane is transformed into joy! 

Oh, to be like Champ! Where will you find joy today?