This Crazy Life

Seeking Joy: A Life Lesson Learned the Hard[ware] Way

I love pretty things.

There, I said it. Gah, I feel like such a girl. I’ve never really considered myself much of a girly girl, but I guess I was wrong, because all of the pretty things end up in my cart.

And when I say cart, let’s be clear – I mean the little basket icon at the top righthand corner of the page. Because one of my favorite hobbies is almost online shopping. Yes, you read that right: almost online shopping. Find the pretty things, throw it all in my happy, beautiful, she-must-be-a-millionaire-to-throw-money-around-like-that virtual cart, and then exit the tab. It is so oddly satisfying. If you don’t do it, you aren’t living. But I digress…

I’m not into your typical idea of pretty things, though. Jewelry, shoes, bags, even clothes don’t really excite me all that much. But throw a few neat lamps in my face, a great rug or two, some insane organizational storage solutions, and an out of this world piece of wall art. Hold on tight, folks, because it’s about to get wild. I will almost online shop until the cows come home, with the imaginary spending habits of an eighteen-year-old rapper. It’s going down, y’all.

So it came as no surprise when I walked into our kitchen one day and couldn’t stop staring. Something just wasn’t right. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but what I did know: I wasn’t satisfied.

Suddenly, it hit me. Our hardware. It was horrid. How had I allowed this to go unnoticed for over three years? How did I apparently go so far as to choose these knobs and pulls when our home had been built? Had I actually chosen them, or had I been drugged? Why hadn’t anyone ever told me how terrible they look? Are we all just a bunch of liars these days? Doesn’t anyone even love me enough to be honest with me?

As all of these extremely valid questions swirled about my undeniably logical brain, I determined that I must find a solution to the madness. A change was in order, and I had to lead the charge. In other words, I had to convince my frugal-to-the-core husband that this endeavor was absolutely necessary. Which it absolutely was not. So that was going to be fun.

But my husband is da bomb, and there’s a reason his favorite saying is: What Mama want, Mama get. 

(The real, lame story is that we created a list of things that we want to change around the house, and hardware just made its way to the top because it’s a pretty inexpensive one. But that’s boring, so let’s stick with the one where I was a super convincing hustler.)

Now, the thing about changing out hardware is that, as previously mentioned, it’s intended to be a relatively easy, inexpensive update. The key word here is intended. Because for the Ward family, that word apparently means diddly-squat.

It was such an intense ordeal, y’all. I’m not even joking. There were so many purchases, returns, cancellations of backorders, visiting all of the Lowe’s locations in town, several trips to Pottery Barn, even calls with customer service. Ugh. Literally the worst. If you know me at all, you know that I firmly believe that talking on the phone to customer service representatives is the devil’s handiwork.


All of this for those bronze knobs and pulls that were sure to bring richness and depth to my otherwise sterile, white kitchen. But the joy these were certain to provide would obviously make all of our efforts worth it. At least that’s what I kept telling myself and my increasingly annoyed but trying-so-hard-to-not-complain hubby.

Then, it finally happened. Randy unearthed the perfect knobs, and I scouted out pulls to match. Teamwork: check.

So Randy left town for business, our hardware made its way to our doorstep two days later, and bam. This crazy lady immediately went to work changing everything out, because this was it. This was my surprise for him. This was my big moment. This was my joy in the shape of oversized, circular knobs and cute, farmhouse-esque pulls. Done and done. I felt like an absolute rockstar.

Until the job was finished, that is.

I stood back, resting my eyes upon the fruit of our labor. Those impeccable knobs and pulls gracing our kitchen cabinets and drawers, bringing a touch of character to our home that new builds typically lack. But something was terribly wrong, because the joy that I was sure to possess: where was it?

I wasn’t feeling it. Not one bit. I felt exactly the same as I did before all of the ridiculous shenanigans, actually.

And that’s when it hit me. Was I happy to have this fabulous new hardware that Randy and I went through entirely too much effort to obtain? Abso-stinking-lutely! But did it bring me joy? Absolutely not.

Because joy? Joy is my two-year-old, Hudson, sweetly saying, “Kisses?!” four times in a row, pursing his precious lips as he leans in. Joy is the sound of my little Jones giggling uncontrollably as we play peek-a-boo for the millionth time. Joy is watching Hudson drop what he’s doing to sprint to Daddy each night when he arrives home from work. Joy is Randy holding my hand as we drive around with no plans at all, talking about our hopes and dreams.

Those words happiness and joy – they’re not interchangeable, folks. One is superficial, while the other holds immense depth. One is fleeting, the other enduring. One is extrinsic, the other intrinsic. One is of this world, and the other a glimpse into eternity.

So don’t be fooled like I was into thinking that hardware will bring you joy. It won’t.

And thank God for that.

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