The gold flashed in the sunlight as the Monarch butterfly flitted and flapped in and out of the shadows and sunlight. The Prairie grass waved its toast colored tops in the wind. A few of the trees were tinged with red on their edges. The cool morning air wrapped itself around me. I was hiking in the state park absorbed by the day.

And then my hand went to my chest.  It patted my heart. I felt bubbly inside. It was like a fresh breeze in my breast. It wiggled and danced for a moment and then it was gone.  What was that?

Then I remembered something I had read yesterday. I read about depression and its opposite. Roland Rolheiser believes that most adults live with chronic depression.  He is not talking about clinical depression, but the absence of energy and interest in life. He contends that we are often weighted down with the choices that we have to make. Our spirits drag around the weight of unfulfilled hopes and dreams.

And he says that the opposite of depression isn’t necessarily optimistic, upbeat, fun-loving. But, he says, “[t]he opposite of depression is delight, being spontaneously surprised by the goodness and beauty of living.”#  

And I realized that the involuntary hand to the chest was a sign of my being surprised by delight. I had not been trying to find it. I had just been doing my daily discipline of hiking, wandering around in my mind, sorting through the stuff of life.  And there it was—delight—right there for me to taste, to feel, to sense. And for a moment, I discovered the delight in the beauty of living.

I am not sure how delight found me. Maybe it just visits from time to time and when I am not too distracted by the compulsion of my own plans and desires it invades my soul and I am reminded how glad I am to be alive.

#(“The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality,” by Ronald Rolheiser, p.26)