The JOY Challenge: Day 11 – The Color of Fireflies

I’m deliberately looking for joy for forty days. To start from day one click here.

As I celebrate the last of summer this post brings a smile again… 

The sky is inky blue, a swirl of dark and light. Day and night do a slow dance before the moon rises high above the trees. The music we can’t hear beckons the fireflies from their hiding places. One by one they appear, little lights twinkling against the backdrop of an early summer evening.

I first caught fireflies as a girl of seven or so. Taking my brother and I to the porch, my grandmother handed us a mason jar. “Be gentle,” I’m sure she told us. Then she watched and smiled from the edge of the flowerbed in a wheelchair. (She had polio at age 29, younger than I am now.)

I don’t know where these creatures live, what they do in the winter, why they come again…but I do know each one is like a bright and beautiful memory floating through the air.

And, because of this, I still catch those flickers of brightness even though childhood has long gone. I place them (gently, yes) into jars, water bottles, whatever I can find. When I have twenty or so I let them go and watch the homemade fireworks display.

Saturday I did this for the first time of the season. Our dear friends, Sean and Kim, were there. We sat on the patio and as the fireflies appeared, I begged my guests to go with me. Sean joined the chase while Mark and Kim watched from the patio at our crazy zig-zags across the yard.

In my firefly moments I feel more alive, happy, and closer to heaven than I do almost any other time all year. It’s as if everything that’s sweet, good, and right is made real in tiny flashes of light as I think of my Grandma and all she taught me of joy.

In the hospital after being told she would never walk again, her pastor said, “Frances, you can choose to let this make you bitter or better.” She would tell me again and again with a twinkle in her eyes, “I chose better.”

My Nana knew joy, like a firefly, flits about you. But if you are serious about it, you must pursue it. And she knew joy, like a firefly, often comes surrounded by darkness. Perhaps that is what makes it so brilliant and beautiful.

Yes, on the porch beneath a summer sky I still sense my grandmother’s smile. And as the last lingering firefly disappears into the night I smile too…knowing I will find it again some other evening or, when least expected, it will once more find me.

Would you like to join me in the Joy challenge? Just share one thing that brings you joy. I’ll have random giveaways for people who comment or subscribe during the next forty days. And you never know when it could be you…  

About Holley

About Holley

Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author and Life Coach

I like humans, words, and good coffee. And I’d love to help you beat what’s holding you back, become all you’re created to be, and kick butt for the greater good.

Cheering you on,


Never Miss a Thing

Join Holley’s mailing list to receive the latest news, blog posts, and updates

What % Introvert Are You?

 My 1-Minute Quiz Will Tell You

New Book You’ll Love!

Writing Course for You!