Prescribing Joy: Loving Joy
Drew (Drew Downs) is my very favorite priest in the whole wide world. His post about how spaghetti is like this year’s U.S. presidential election really hit the spot for me, as did–somewhat before that–his response to my post about my kind of church, The Church of Sunlight through Trees.
Drew has guest posted here before, and I hope, hope, hope that this will not be his last time.
I’m supposed to say “spending time with my family” right? When you ask
“What brings you joy?” I’m supposed to want to be in their presence and to look at their faces and enjoy them.
And most of the time, it doesn’t work like that.
I come home and I see chaos.
Pillows on the living room floor,
the table is covered with legos and cereal boxes,
dishes fill the sink,
Rose kisses me and rushes off to work
The thought of feeding them in this mess, putting them to bed, getting the place ready for
the next day’s existential centrifuge of disorder, overwhelms me
and I stare at these lovely monsters sweetly begging to play with me
and I’m like
Even when I have a spare moment, just 30 minutes, enough to play a boardgame, I open my laptop to do the thing which fills me with passion and desire: to write. To take the swirling vortex of life and find something in there which makes sense and wrestling it into submission. Writing is my mistress.
But really, I just tinker with the new blog design I’ve been playing with for 6 weeks and check Facebook. Then I reluctantly get up, give in, and play; just for a moment.
Then it’s time for bed. Brush their teeth, get them in PJs, read the same books as last night. And when we’re done, I come out into the living room for 10 minutes of pure peace before Rose comes home and we have to socialize.
The problem is that this is my normal. Spending time with family as a prescription for joy doesn’t make sense in my normal.
When I went to the Wild Goose Festival with my daughter this summer and we slept in a tent and pretended we were lost in the woods and were scavenging for food, and saw the Indigo Girls and then listened to them for our 7 hour drive home, we lived joy. So much joy that tears left her eyes that it was ending. Mine too.
When Rose couldn’t get away from work, I took both of the kids north for two weeks to play at my parents’ home and then their cottage; we swam more than they’ve ever in their lives and went on Pokeadventures.
And when my son laughs (only his sister can get him to laugh like that), I am filled to bursting with a joy alien to the rest of my life. It cuts through the normal BS and gets me where ever we are.
I don’t need more time with family. I don’t need more time to write. I don’t need people telling me to have fun.
I need to let go of my work. I need to let go of all the tensions. I need to leave behind normal.
I need vacation. Not because I’m any good at. I’m not. I need time and space to love. To feel
joy. To slow down and drop the weight and live. Then all the stuff that is normal is full of new life. And nothing gives me greater joy than seeing, feeling, living new life.
Give me that joy. Prescribe that to me. I’ll make that my new normal.
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