Urgent: Never Postpone Joy
The road of Life is set before us. There is a beginning and an end. There are only so many breaths permitted in the gorgeous order of creation. Every story is written with prophets and demons, straight paths and dead ends, holy signs and devil’s curses, great love and painful sacrifice, terrific fear and unyielding hope…each essential to stretching one’s heart toward its salvation. The art is in finding a way in the darkness and in the light, in the valley of the shadows and high on the mountaintop, to live in the province of joy.
My heart has been heavier than usual this week. I have prayed for three friends, barely forty, who are all bravely fighting breast cancer. I have wept for a mother of a six month old baby who just heard those words that still haunts my dreams, “your child has cancer.” And then Mother Nature proved awfully cruel, sending a typhoon to the Philippines to shake the very ground of our being. Every single one of you reading this blog today has a story. You know fear, you know grief, you know hurt, you know pain, you know doubt, you know loss, you know disappointment, and you know darkness.
But, do you know JOY?
I recently heard a beautiful quote by Mark Nepo, “to be broken does not mean to see all things as broken.” The Divine Hourglass shows no mercy. We are only blessed with this moment. Shame on us if it requires a crisis, a diagnosis, a heart break, a blue day, to wake us up to the potential for joy in our lives. We are naive if we believe joy requires losing that last niggling five pounds around the girth, or getting the next work promotion, or waiting til the kids fly the coup, or getting the house of our dreams, or securing that safety net of silver dollars for the future. To postpone joy is pure negligence with the gift that is our life.
And I am not talking about happiness. Happiness is fleeting and of this world. Happiness is a new tube of lipstick or oatmeal chocolate chip cookie or a good hair day. Joy is an experience of transcendence where you are drawn out of your flesh and bone and you have a poignant feeling that there is something more. Joy happens when the soul, that most beautiful, noble, divine part of you, is offered a gulp of grace and a peek at heaven. Joy is getting a little glimpse of God’s glory.
There is an art to living in the province of joy. People filled with joy are mysteriously and divinely-lit from the inside out. They glow. Even when all around them, there is darkness and suffering, they have this incredible gift of locating joy. You could say they aim for a higher, more holy experience of living here on earth.
The secret: Never postpone Joy!
Walk the path of life, trusting in the intuition of your soul with your eyes full of wonder and your heart open and tuned in to where God is breaking through our midst. Remember, a life spent searching for joy is not without its sorrows, but it is sacred every step of the way.
Live in Hope,
P.S. Speak your joy! Joy is contagious!