“We build on foundations we did not lay.
We warm ourselves at fires we did not light.
We sit in the shade of trees we did not plant.
We drink from wells we did not dig.
We profit from persons we did not know.
We are ever bound in community."

Rev. Peter Raible (paraphrased from Deuteronomy 6:10-12)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Day 11 of Spiritual Practices and Reflection: Making room for joy

Yesterday, I wrote about leaning into those things that help us come alive. Today, I want to build on that notion, as I share some thoughts about making room for joy in our lives.

So: a short story, a poem, and then the question...

The story: This past halloween, our son went trick or treating for the first time. We had explained the basics of how it would work. He'd wear a costume, knock on people's doors, say trick or treat, and then get some candy. He should say "thank you," and then move on to the next house. He seemed to understand the essential concept, but when we actually went trick or treating that night, and he got his first piece of candy dropped into his plastic pumpkin container, it all came together. After saying "thank you" he turned around, on fire with joy, and dashed off to the next house, happily shouting, "Candy! I got Candy!" I've never seen such joy or happiness. He embodied "living joy" that night. (Of his joy filled both my wife and I with a deep joy, as well.)

The poem: "From Blossoms"

From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy 
at the bend in the road where we turned toward 
signs painted Peaches.

From laden boughs, from hands, 
from sweet fellowship in the bins, 
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all, 
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.

O, to take what we love inside, 
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into 
the round jubilance of peach.

There are days we live 
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy 
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to 
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.
- Li-Young Lee

Question: When do you live as if death is nowhere in the background? When has joy bubbled up within you, blossoming in unexpected ways? Has there been a time when you ate a piece of fruit, and it opened you up to the orchard, the shade, the days?...and something close to joy burst into your life? When and where and how do you experience joy in your life? How can you make room for more joy in your life? 


R W Rawles said...

Thanks for the lines from Rev. Raible on your masthead. I'm grabbing them!

ncmama said...

Today joy bloomed in my life when my seven year old granddaughter shared a hug and laughs with me, yesterday when my three year old grandson & his mom made up and sang a song to me over Skype. Thoughts of all the fires I can set in my Christmas gift fire pit and the family & friends who warm my life.