This post originally appeared on my blog in August of 2008. On this 4th of July, revisiting these sentiments of John Adams, which had such a profound effect on me almost three years ago–feels like a good thing to do.
Last night, Dan and I finished watching the HBO Films series John Adams. I think this last episode was my favorite. It was the only where I cried, but it was also so much about Abigail and John Adams reflecting on their lives as they reached the end of them.
In a final scene, John Adams is walking along a cornfield at dusk with his son, Thomas. His wife has died, all of his peers but Thomas Jefferson have passed away and this is what he has to stay:
Now my mother always said that I never delighted enough in the mundane, but now I find that if I look at even the smallest thing…my imagination begins to roam the Milky Way. Rejoice evermore. Rejoice Evermore! …REJOICE! EVERMORE! I wish that had always been in my heart and on my tongue. I am filled with an irresistible impulse to fall on my knees right here in admiration….If only my knees would bend like they used to. "
Must we reach the end of our days for us to find delight in the mundane? For our hearts to rejoice at all times? For the smallest flower to stir our imagination? I surely hope not.
Tonight, I noticed the cool breeze on my bare skin, a group of dark cattle grazing on the hill below the old stone church, my children running and falling and laughing in the grass with their father, a moment of quiet, just for me.
Those words of John Adams stirred something inside me. They once again reminded me to fill my heart and my days with thankfulness, hope, joy, curiosity. To take pleasure in the smallest flower, the most mundane tasks oftentimes repeated day after day after day. To notice. To not grow weary.
Life is full of so many pleasures.