A song that to express joy to me and it also relates to my recent blogs about joy.
Another song that to express joy to me and it also relates to my recent blogs about joy
Please know, my experimentation with joy during a deep valley experience is not restricted to these few sharings or physical, material items. Joy can just as easily come from standing out on my side porch in a snow storm, as I did last night, letting the windy snow drops lightly sting my face for 5 minutes and breathing in the sharp, fresh night air. It is then that I feel New Brunswick and my grandparents and uncle’s farm, Hill Hurst, over looking our Kennebecasis River. I can imagine walking home from the brook with my sisters just before the sunset, early, past the cow barn, down towards the horse barn where only a work horse, Sandy, remained, sloping towards our grandmother’s old house, past the apple orchards silvery topped with white frost, silently, as siblings can because there is nothing needed to be said then that they do not already know, to our home, to our supper. Or we could be dragging our sleds down from Ryders Hill, biting our snow encased mittens, trying to sound cool for the few boys, our cousins, our neighbours, more like brothers, on our fearless, careless, carefree, future-full life, with no thought of cold, in the biting snow now rising up in the air to greet us. That is joy, too.
On Christmas Day, my grandson Luke Jr., arrived a bit early with his girlfriend, Kristen, driving up from Antigonish, where they had spent a couple days with her family. Luke Jr. I noted a different look on his face, one of anticipation. Luke Jr., is in his second year of NSCC in the Welding and Sheet Metal Fabrication Program. Just reeling from an odd flu bug, feeling even weaker than “new norm”, with my current inability to enjoy a Christmas Dinner as once I could, and having pared down Christmas this year, I felt badly for any of my kids or grandkids who may have felt compelled to spend a portion of their Christmas Day with us. However, here was Luke Jr, happy and positive. He asked if I would like to open his gift to me. Again, I “felt” awkward because I do not expect ever, my grandchildren to get or buy me anything (smiling a grimace of annoyance towards myself here!). I took the gift and opened it. Inside the gift bag was a beautiful, personally, hand created long stem steel rose, welded, molded into it’s silver beauty. I surprised myself with the tears and “heavings” that followed. He and the rose targeted a place in my memory bank and my heart that was veiled for some time. His gift was similar to his grandfather’s gift of creating beautiful tin, copper or pewter things in his spare time in his last 10 yrs of life. Luke Jr never met his Grandfather Jefferies as he died when his dad, my son Luke, was ten yrs old, but here was a perfect sample of a gift passed down genetically or spirit to spirit decades later. Beyond all of that, was a young man taking a chance to create, on his own, to think of another and calmly using his talent, just to give to his grandmother. Tears, but “unexpected happiness”.
Lighthouses created by grandson William and grand daughter, Jewel. Neither grandchild knew what the other was doing- one in Ottawa and the other in Edmonton. One, Saxon’s son aged 4 then and the other, Grace’s daughter then aged 5. Along with those home loving treasures have come an amazing, Big Hug William card, and a painted bench, both offering much joy, the latter from Ava, Issy and Jewel. They all have created special art work, as have some of my kids when little through the years, to my little great grandson, Jalen and his Cow picture to me. I love cows. It is situated close to his mom, Kyla, grand daughter’s painting of a horse created a good 12 or 15 yrs prior. You will notice a picture or 2 of many of these as well. All happy distractions of Joy.
My grandson, Terrance’s faithful observation yard work or snow piling up or the need to shovel and clear walkways for me and grampy. he is a hard working and kind young man. This brings joy, gladness, and relief in the day to day.
The happy offer to trim our little Christmas Tree this year from grand daughters Alya and Ky. What a nice, simple evening. ALS has limited the use of my hands to work in unison with many fine motor skill actions, but in my presence, Kyla and Alya, with Christmas music gave a gift of joy and fun.
After Christmas, son Jesse returned to spend another week with his dad and me. During that time, a mini miracle occurred with Jesse’s little son, Landen, now living in Alberta, able to come home to NS, Eastern Passage, specifically for a 2 week visit ! This was lovingly arranged by his mom, Trina, for the benefit of both sets of grandparents, many extended relatives, for Landen himself who misses his fam here, and for Jesse, Landen’s dad. At first it looked as if Jesse had to return to Gagetown at the appointed time, due to a specific ,scheduled task for which he was slated, and therefore would only have a portion of a day with him. This was bleak, after a moment of Joy. He tried to get an extension with his superiors but to no avail. We got serious, fed up, and made it a matter of prayer as it had almost been a year, despite Facetime and phone calls , that they had been in each others’ company. It was an ache never leaving in Jesse’s heart, I know. Suffice to say, after a wait, Jes was granted three more days. It was joy unspeakable. ” It may not come when you want it but it will come right on time.” We had some special added times as grandparents alone later in the visit. There are a couple photos of both occasions.
Time this Holiday Season included more “unexpected happiness” with the arrival one day of two more grandchildren, Lorenzo and Lyrique. When we get together, we usually plan a movie at home, baking, a craft or an exploring walk by the water. This time, again, half of this I could not set up. Boring grand mother, again, I feared. Soon, I said to myself, my kids and grand kids will feel forced to spend an obligatory visit to a nanny, a shadow of her former, semi fun self. However, with their dad, they assisted in making a tasty meal that once blended, I could swallow. We quietly sat down and peacefully painted little House Banks together, and the accepted solitude with painting gave us smiles, nods and peaceful moments together. There are a few photos of those moments of simple joy.
This past week, my grand daughter, Isabella, visited with her mom, my daughter, Grace from afar! Much of joy could be written here, but to focus on grandchildren, Isabella brought paintings and cards from her sisters Ava and Jewel. Isabella ‘s first full day was full of special tasks and jobs she did that specifically accomplished to assist with grampy and my “situation”. Over the week, she created a binder of words and phrases that I can point to, as my speech limitations have increased. She compiled literally a thousand plus old photos into coordinated albums. She walked with me all the way around the boardwalk, a jaunt I no longer could fully manage since mid December, and constantly aided her mom, grampy and me. For our light entertainment, she happily watched some fun or silly shows that help with little needed distractions such as my Coronation St., The Real Housewives of Atlanta, certain portions, ( confession time – that one and RHW of New York are my ” favs ” now that I have had time to discover or do light, very light entertainment, every once in a blue moon), or The View.
Issy read more serious books to me of the Devotional nature, and showed her acceptance quietly to me, as I am. She researched Bulbar Onset ALS, as have most of my family now and purposefully comes from a level of awareness that creates some ease for me. A picture or two of these efforts, resulting in joy, will be posted.
Lastly, and with more difficulty, is the summary of an act of love, sacrifice and joy from my youngest brother, Mike. How to do this, is the question. Mike is far from a grand child and it is a slice of the grandkids that part I of this blog is centred but with Joy as the over riding theme, this lengthy Reflection is the appropriate place for this acknowledgement. Mike is the youngest of five children in my family of origin. When our mom died a month after her cancer diagnosis, both my younger brothers were in their 20’s. As the youngest of the three girls, I was situated to be quite close to Nealon and Michael, and spent large portions of my late elementary years up to high school taking care of the, babysitting, making up imaginative games and stories, forcing them into my projects about Glooscap, Lois Reil, or The Coureurs de Bois, or seeing if I dressed them up in my old fancy Sunday School dresses, crinolines and all and sent them out of the lawn to play, how long would they see the fun in that? Not very nice, I know. They gave me a run for my money too. We were stuck together a lot but that was the natural lay of the land.
Our father was a WWII Vet, as many fathers were in the 1950’s and ’60’s baby boom generation. After dad married our mom, who was only 17 yrs, a graduate from high school that year ( not uncommon for war brides back then), dad ended up overseas for literally four years. It was not until the war was over and dad returned home, did our parents start a family. Sharon Anne arrived first. Three years later came Jane Irene. Three years after that came a third girl, Susan Helen. An absence of eight years before another baby arrived, The Crown Prince, Nealon Conrad, ( just teasing but Neal was the first Wyman male in decades, and we all were happy.), and three years after that, when I as eleven years old, along came The Spare, second son, Michael Christian. He was a joy to behold. Mom, at 41, retired from the baby business.
Our father, Kenneth Conrad Wyman was striking to us. He held a place of respect, fear, at times, humour, discipline, determination, compunction, with compassion, with some inner angst, high, exceedingly high standards, joy of the beauty of the countryside, dedicated church worker, Deacon, Member of the School Board, Post Master, Post Office Superintendent, loving father, steadfast husband, Work Alcoholic, perhaps, but he never wanted to speak about his service during the War. As some of our uncles marched in Remembrance Day parades, or joined The Legion, dad would not. As a little girl, with my mom’s help I practiced a few songs to sing to him upon his return from work. My homage fell flat, despite the fact thy ended up being WWI songs my grandmother sang, and not WWII. My father firmly told me to stop and to never sing those songs again. Obviously, the memories held no cherished reminders.
We knew our father was shot during the war in the back, but it was by far not a debilitating wound. A skin graft was there that we could see when he was shaving. We learned later one day he was shaving outside his jeep or truck when he was shot at another time by German fire. He escaped without a hit but his buddy next to him within a few feet was shot dead. His brother in law, his sister, our Aunt Hattie’s husband, another young man in his 20’s was killed just a couple days after he and dad met up in France on a mini break. Dad let it slip how too often he would see the dead piled up like cord wood whenever something on the radio or TV came on to glorify war- or the American Movies gave a lop sided view of how the war was won and their heroism cult grew. He was attached to a medical unit on the front, doing reccee , scout work, to set up camp for the unit, to fight the enemy found. In his bottom drawer in his dresser was a German Revolver and on our fireplace, a hearth he made himself, was the German Officer, Fancy dressed dagger. Little was said on that, ever but we knew our father killed others in the war but it was best to say nothing. Dad took no joy in war. He did his best to banish the memories from his skull and not to welcome them. From my aging perspective of a mom with a son injured in war and two more serving in the Armed Forces, our father fought heavily with this significant part of his psyche and war time experience. The inner demons, so called, surfaced, but he fought hard against them in order to live the new chapter of Post War Canada and raise forward looking children, untroubled with that pain or impact of war.
I say all this, to simply say, I took a keen, intuitive and outward interest in my dad and this part of his young history. He knew it. In later years, as I suffered loss, he began to share bits and pieces with me, and some to others quietly, of those years. I kept them as treasures from him in my heart, knowing they did not come easy. During the last 10 years of dad’s life, he began to go to Remembrance Day Services in his church. Several times, I was honoured to attend with him. Tears were visible in his eyes, as they now are to me. At one time, dad gave me his medals. I took great care of them taking them to every Remembrance Day Ceremony.
One day, he asked for them back. I complied but felt stung and hurt. He did not handle that part as sensitively as perhaps he ” should”. I began to focus on old wounds between he and I, for a short bit, but I loved him too much to “go on and on” or damage the love and respect, ultimately I had for my dad. He was a good, albeit, sometimes a hard dad, yet have mercy and generosity aplenty. Besides, these were my father’s medals. Our relationship and his commitment towards me and my children did not suffer. We just kept growing closer through the good, bad or ugly of life. Happily, dad confided and shared with me a lot over the phone and in person. If advice was warranted, he’d give it.
In any case, for whatever reason, he was fully entitled to them. Something on his inner map of life, I now surely can see, made him ready to accept his 20 to 25 yr old Ken Wyman and join the few remaining WWII vets who were willing to sacrifice the ultimate sacrifice, and even with mixed feelings, honour his buddies, the unknown soldiers, the households who never had their brother, son or husband return home and to stand for that. maybe it is just one of the ways we come home to ourselves.
Dad would joke with us as kids and adults, that when he died to just roll him up in his old army blanket, dig a hole and put him in. He was always digging holes, landscaping, adding on, discarding the old, repairing the broken things or making something new and modern. We can remember that khaki army blanket dry cleaned, in it’s plastic wrap, in his closet, during the last few years of his life, after going with us to the beach, on camping trips, or covering us if we fell asleep in the back seat of the car. When he died, we did not dig a hole but we did bury him with his old army blanket folded up, and laid on his chest.
Prior to my son, Saxon being deployed to Afghanistan, my father died at age 87 years, in February. Knowing Saxon was enlisting about 18 months before dad died, gave him serious concern, as it did me. Parents are caught between supporting their young adults with such challenges, often counter-intuitive for a protecting parent. We try to communicate our concerns, without alienating them. or loading them down with our apprehensions and worries. It is both frightening intermingled with hope, against hope, with pride in their discipline and youthful courage. Dad shared his hesitancies with me, yet he wisely shared that there was nothing he or I could do to dissuade him, but to be supportive, realistic and to pray. Psalm 91, which my father had memorized for years, and one of my favourites, became our families’ anchor. It is commonly called The Soldier’s Psalm.
Now, all three of my sons are in the military and do face many challenges, and due to their areas of expertise, they face dangers unknown to most. My son in law serves so often alone daily as an RCMP Officer and my daughter within Civilian Management in DND. We never set out to be so, but something beyond me, flowed that way. Dad has given us a guidepost with the highlighting of Psalm 91 and daily prayer. He provided a realistic view of war without the bravado but with pain of combat, of uncertain emotions after, yet doing all you can at the time. He also, finally demonstrated the importance of accepting your service humbly, with honour after a, for others never able to live out their lives, as well as the importance of survival in or out of military duty.
This section started out to be about joy and my brother, Michael. Well, I said all this to say that. As our mom often said when I was nervous or faced something challenging or something I did not want to do, ” Be a brave little soldier, Susie”, for better or for worse, she said it. I accepted it. Today, I face a battlefield, a ” front” of a different kind unknown to me. I prefer not to go to this theatre of war. I prefer not to be taken prisoner by the enemy. I prefer peace- a peaceful homeland – without an enemy at the gate. Michael knows that.
A week before my birthday, Mike, my eldest sister, Sharon and Mike’s partner, Ann visited again. They had something special gently wrapped up, recently prepared, ready for a new battle, adorned with medals for me. It was our father’s Army Jacket from WWII, with each medal properly affixed, sparkling. He unveiled it and brought it to me with love and joy. I held it and cried and cried. It symbolized so much. It stood for strength, life, battle, perseverance, courage even with great uncertainty, all of which I need and must have now. More so, it brought my father’s words, his life, my strong memories back to me and my sense of missing him, particularly at this time in my life. Michael, and his family dug deep into their wealth of love, private moments of his own reflections on this matter and me. With lessons, and directions from the heart meeting with my tears and sadness, he brought joy. The note inside said this was for my comfort now and when I no longer needed that comfort, would take it back as then, he would need comfort.
Thus ends my very long blog post on the story of joy. Thank you for taking the time. Thank you for your patience. It will be a week or more before I lay more wordiness on you. That is a certainty, but I trust you’ll check Low Tide Reflections out again in the future.
An oldie any Baby Boomer will never forget on the basic seeking of goodness- joy, kindness, love.
Dear Reader, This Blog Post is a two-part Reflection. I warn you, it is lengthy, perhaps more like a form of short story without formal format. Patience may be required but I hope over the days, you will give it a shot still. It is a busy world we live in, and little time for pondering other people’s woes or lessons, I know. I type with one finger now so if inspiration hits, it is difficult to stop in case tomorrow that finger and my right hand resists. Succinctness has escaped me in life, and although it is a discipline lacking, I may be forced to develop it.
There is a lovely woman in the ALS Support Group held once a month, that Bruce and I try to attend, if other appointments do not over rule. For the sake of this post, we will refer to her as “J”. If it wasn’t for J, to date, I would not have met another female with Bulbar Onset ALS in person. (I have had the benefit to meet a fair amount of women and men with Bulbar or Limb Onset ALS on line, including On Line Support Groups). The on-site Support Group that we drive to, is offered through The ALS Society of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. It is located North Dartmouth on Wyse Rd.
“J” has very similar losses, to mine, impacting respiratory, speech, sustenance-getting (meaning we both suffer with dysarthria and dysphasia) creating significant issues with eating abilities, verbal communication, and hand weakness, to name a few. We both experience the daily machines of Cough Assist and Bi Pap, as well as other machines or resources to benefit us daily. We both have read some of the same books about the ALS experience and both are heavily into our families who also are trying to navigate their boats in their own ways, in light of the diagnosis.
When I met her, my diagnosis was less than a month old and hers was approximately 18 to 20 months. As a professional woman, she also encountered radical changes to employment, family, former roles, communication, independence, and stamina. It is an understatement to say, her experience and her times of opening up, even a bit to me, have been a Godsend; a guidepost. Despite the fact of similar current experiences, there are of course differences in our medical histories, our desires, our goals, our physiology and how this condition is effecting our bodies and minds now.
The first and only word of initial advice “J” gave me was to “try to find joy in every day”, or she also said it this way, “each day, try to find one little thing that brings you joy”. She spoke it with her failing voice, similar to my own now, but she also wrote it out. I have heard so many pat phrases in my time, in times of grief, duress and exhaustion, that I got into a habit of just letting most of them go in one ear and out the other, but to still respect the intentions and thoughtfulness of the person sharing. Every now and then, depending on the sharer and their experience or ability to reflect, in my arrogant judgment, perhaps, I allowed it to stick and not just snobbishly toss the words away. For me, in September, as angry and ashamed as I was for being so hostile, terribly sad, and yes -enraged- in my head and heart, my tolerance level was low. My spirit, heart and head seemed to be in a sword wielding battle between the hosts of heaven and the pit of hell. These efforts to bolster myself up, hourly, to practice faith and claim some hope, with a window to a possible future, knotted into an anger I could not successfully camouflage. As expectations of myself, within the first few months, swelled to living my principles or my anchors of faith regardless, making friends with the idea of death becoming a bona fide reality before my brain imagined, (at least prior to the end of August), to somehow contently leaving all I know and love before I wanted. was a draining task. After all, we all know, don’t we, that we are going to die and I am supposed to be a spiritual person – a Christian!!?? The list of my own dear family members and loved ones already departed was not a short list. So, how childish can I be??
The efforts to mentally remain a sane, grounded mother figure to my kids by manifesting some semblance of stability and even hope to them, in the wake of despairing news, to communicate appreciation and empathy to my siblings and friends, to motivate and emotionally support my husband, as his life was radically changing, along with all the things I thought I “should” do, were failures, or so I believed. Looking back, it was too much to expect along with a hundred other “things”, demands, needs of each day. That is when we are suppose to “let go and let God “. I was failing at that, too, or so it seemed. So anger was there. Anger towards God, for the first time in my life, despite other past losses, grief or hurts welled up. Anger towards God was new to me and the fear of fostering it -aiding and abetting it- made me feel very ill, sickened, adrift and ashamed. But there it was and I had to deal with it.
So, in regard to “J’s” advice that day, I heard it and smiled faintly, but put it on the shelf along with other ideals that felt, well just too much. I had always been a trooper- a soldier- or so I thought. Apparently, I wasn’t. It made me pleased for her that she could do that and had a peace obviously beyond my grasp, but maybe I best get there, and soon, were my thoughts.
“J” must have taken a good, intuitive, second look at me and then she spoke and wrote something more. She told me that the first three to four months were the most difficult for her. She said it was simply very hard. She said the nights were the worse for quite some time. She told me that she found it very taxing during those early months with so many changes and transitions. She said that often her mind was pulled in many directions and things were very painful for her emotionally as were the efforts to get enough water and nutrients into her system. Misery may love company, but no one familiar with ALS or a debilitating cancer, regardless of how stigmatized you may feel occasionally, wishes that plight on your worse enemy, and I took no joy in “J’s” pain or earlier adjustments either. Sometimes it is just that a hurting, confused, dried up soul needs some watering from an experienced gardener or a sojourner on the same road. “J” provided that. Due to that, I gained a frame of reference to go on in September and since then, she has offered some practical light on this path in a very human, woman to woman manner.
Then there was the idea she shared of finding some joy in each day. Didn’t I already know that and try to live it, generally speaking? Aren’t we “suppose” to do that ? Isn’t this part of the rudiments of a healthy life? Was I not (kind of) doing this before, anyway… most days? In my spirit quietly, or in my prayers, did I not show and express thankfulness, at least most of my life? Have I not practiced “the sacrifice of praise” and taught my children some of these principles to implement during times of trials and woe? Even since this diagnosis, my husband and I took in the glories of the seaside, the ocean changes, the birds in our maples, moments of cheer with one of the four kids or any of the twelve grandchildren? We did. We did spontaneously and other times, if weighted down more, we tried, at least. Obviously, that was not sufficient. In truth, it wasn’t and even when we were in good health and the sun or Harvest Moon was shining in the skies over our abode, and into our windows, I took too much for granted and the important ideals or life support for an emotionally and spiritually healthy life, were not being practiced. By far, not enough.
The consideration of finding and participating in the idea of joy as a daily practice, has become a new anchor. It is a new day and a new chapter, now. It takes a discipline of sorts and yet is a type of medicine for the soul. “J” was aware that this medicine is crucial and life giving. For best results, it must be taken daily. Although some days it is a missed med, it is slowly part of a regular, important concoction for the heart and brain! This is what “J” meant. Not being a “Polly Anna” naturally, or for many years, but more of a Rainy Day Person myself, (which before you judge too harshly, they are needed too in order to walk with assurance in the rain, with another, or support those and have empathy for others experiencing stormy weather), a reflection on joy reaps benefits. Thankfully, The Creator loves diversity in the children, in the universe, and as unique or even slightly different we are one from another, there is a place for us and much we “should” embrace about ourselves and how we are created, too for this piece of time we get to live and breathe on earth. Still a touch of joy, or an anticipation of joy, in “The Now” won’t detract the serious business that often awaits us. I wish I practiced it more often, earlier.
Too often, we put on hold that joy. It is nothing new to say that too often we wait for a better time or ideal circumstances to focus on joy or to catch joy. Another bane of our hurried paced existence. We can easily ignore the present hour we are in and I allowed myself to be a participant more in the worries, in procrastination of enjoyment, of relaxation, of simple joys. There is no ideal time. We may borrow trouble but we rarely access the capital of joy in the here and now, naturally.
It may be in the sideways glance of your son as you drive him to school and note his anticipation of his day to come, or hold your nieces’ hand as you take her to the fair. It may be when they are up to bat for the first time, or getting their first goal on the ice. It may be the moment your partner says,” look out the window. The sunset is like something I never saw before”. It may be your daughter saying that she wrote a speech today, mom, and it is about inequalities in the judicial system. It may be a child singing quietly under their breath while doing their homework, or trying a new riff on the drums, or a difficult manoeuvre on their skateboard. It may be that certainty and relief that your prayers and your heart’s cry before the Lord, has been heard and your inner thoughts or desires known and understood. Or it may be seeing your rose bush planted and tended for years finally blossom, or a field of horses switching their tails in the summer heat with several lying down under the shades of the trees, surely oblivious to the woes of the human pace, that day. It might be receiving the news that your dad’s operation was successful, or your ill mother smiled at you and enjoyed the cup of tea you made for her. It may be more or it may be much less. It is not happiness, only. It is not “trying to be happy” or practising gratitude only. It is more. It is a moment of inner rejoicing, a lilt to the day that you relish or you let sit in your gut or your spirit. It is a joy that can lift your heart and gladden the soul.
“J’s” definition of Joy now, after integrating joy seriously into her life daily since her 20’s, is simply “unexpected happiness”, and to clearly be on the look out for it and to not dismiss it. Before I share, some recent conduits of joy for me in the last few months, focusing this time, not on the many kindnesses of friends, my adult children or older family members, but rather solely on those gifts of joy from some of my grandkids, and my youngest sibling, Michael, please bear with me as the following facts are shared:
The Merriam Webster Dictionary describes Joy as “A feeling of great happiness. A source or cause of great happiness. Something or someone who gives Joy to someone. Success in doing, finding or getting something. The emotion evoked by well being, success or good fortune, or by the prospect of possessing what one desires. The expression or exhibition of such emotion. A state of happiness or felicity. A source or cause of delight.”
Synonyms of Joy are: “crow ( I love that one), delight, exuberate, gladden, glory, jubilate, kveil, rejoice.”
In dwelling on joy and beginning to consider it as a ritual despite how “untoward” the remainder of my day may ruffle itself out, I am beginning to wonder if Joy has become outdated and old fashioned. Is it an archaic word now, or notion? Is it frivolous, or only for the ill who must be in denial, or just considered silly and useless? Is it thought to be only for the simple or silly billies? Is it a waste of important time in a serious world? Is it something people reach for medication, an abundance of mind altering activities or substances to achieve?
Might be interesting to know that the word “Joy” in the Bible (King James Version) is used 102 times in The Old Testament and 63 times in The New Testament! Compare this to the word “Wisdom” used 181 times in the Old and 53 in the New. Lastly, it is interesting to know that the word “Hate” is used 71 times in the Old Testament as compared to Joy’s 102 times in the Old Testemant and “Hate” is used 16 times in the New Testament whereas “Joy” is used a whopping 63 times in the New! (Again these stats are from KJV only) Maybe we do too often “see through a glass darkly”. Maybe we (I) became hard wired to sit with the woes, with limits on happiness or the joys, and dwell too often on the problems, sorrows, and negativity of this life rather than more unabashedly open myself up to joy without the guilt that we too often have been conditioned as a companion. I certainly have had joys, but too often I did not look for them. How do we come to terms with the sad thought that we are undeserving of too much joy, and keep ourselves on a diet where joy is severely restricted? Too often, after joy, I braced myself for the next storm, just in case….
Let’s not permit the word or essence of joy to become as faded or out of practice as other solid words rarely practiced nowadays. Words such as gladden, remorse, eventide, penitence, comeuppance, fiddle-faddle, stalwart, compunction, pensive. Joy may come with tears or with smiles. It is present with us, or may require some re-jigging in our time and daily routines, but like love it is “as perennial as the grass” and as varied as the flowers; as the human race.
Sorrow will come. Count on that. Loss and change never retreat from the human experience either. Joy is in greater supply. It can be felt and embraced daily, after all. Best to practice it now and to really dwell on the full scope of what is really meant with the scripture that says, and is so frequently quoted “The Joy of the Lord is my Strength”. I might be skimming the surface on that one too, of late. Oh how we love to quote a scripture or repeat a platitude to others without some depth of thought or living it ourselves. Words cannot always cover a multitude of faults, or pain, fright, or disengagement. But hey, they are a good first step, and a more enduring comfort if along with acceptance of loss, is the embracing of an ancient treasure -Joy- in due time. Don’t keep the door shut on it for too long, though.
Signing off but giving Joy, even in small doses, a run for its’ money. For those serious folks or those going through dark tunnel after tunnel, there will be a season to catch some natural joy, rainy nights or glaringly sunny days, when even the sun rays feel too intense, and inappropriate.