Jesus said to them, "Children, you have no fish, have you?" They answered him, "No."He said to them, "Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. (John 21:5-7)
Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning. (Psalm 30:5b)
This week I've been watching parents of the young people slain at Virgina Tech trying to make meaning out of the lives of their lost children, and each one seems to begin by focusing on something joyful about that child. It's a gift that most humans have brains wired to respond in that way. For some of us it can be harder to work our way out of dark places, but I believe joy remains the key. It is the spirit of resurrection.
Tell us about five people, places, or things that have brought surprising, healing joy into your life.
1. My Daughter, the effervescent Petra (not her real name; a character she would like to play on Broadway some day). She is beautiful, funny as hell, smarter than that, and she has a writer's sense of irony and poetry. She holds her cards close to her vest: I have to guess about her inner state sometimes, though she still leans on me, like a puppy, when we watch TV together. She can be found singing a clear, high A in a Gilbert and Sullivan air in the shower.
2. My Son, the bold and brash Larry-O (also not his real name, but an allusion to a wonderful actor of yesteryear in honor of my son the thespian). Did I say bold and brash? I meant sensitive and caring. I know he took upon himself the burden of caring for both his parents through a wrenching separation and divorce. When I watch him on stage I weep because he is so damned talented and it is all him (though we can safely say the blissful baritone is thanks to my lane of the gene pool).
3. The women. I can't name them or describe them. They are from every age of my life, from the time I was 17 on upwards. Women with whom I have laughed until I thought I would collapse from oxygen deprivation, who have listened to me howl in agony, with whom I have shared my struggles to be ordained, to be healthy, to be sane. Women who have loved me through it all, and who constantly call me to my better self. They know who they are.
4. The sky, the endless wonder of it... fairest blue or inky-deep, clear and sparkling with or without big puffy clouds or fiery pointed stars, steely grey or falling down on me in the form of rain, sleet, hail and snow... I drive 50 miles to and from work, and the sky is a more dependable companion than any radio station or iPod. It takes my breath away with its beauty. Everyone laughs at me, because I'm forever saying, "Look! Look!"
5. Music. Mostly jazz and folk/ rock these days, but always a new discovery around the corner. Recent finds: Julie Miller, Arcade Fire, the Weepies, Damien Rice. Still love: Radiohead, David Gray, Ani forever, ditto the Indigo Girls.
Thanks Songbird. I feel the joy.