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Prescribing Joy: Joy Is

Kim (Little Bits of Heaven) and I have only known each other for months, but it feels to me as if we’ve known each other since before words. She writes with great love woven through with strands of bittersweet, her compassion today a conscious, considered departure from bitter befores. We don’t share a family tree, but to my heart, she is a sister.

prescribing joy

Joy Is

A cool breeze on a hot day
Watching it roll through my daughter’s hair

A warm puddle for my cold toes on our walks to school
Waiting for my son to jump in

Dirt on my hands from planting seeds
Wresting to keep baby from eating them

Joy is
After the storm
When we know we’ve made it through
Perhaps better than before

In the cold times
When our hearts are not hardened by our loss
But made stronger by our faith

When fire rips through our lives
And through the smoke we see the new
New beginnings, new life, new hope

Joy is
Finding that someone whose laugh is worse than yours
But knowing it’s all you want to hear

Celebrating a sunrise
Because you’ve seen it one more day

Toasting a sunset
Because the clouds have gone away

lboh

 

Categories: Family, Love Tags: , , , ,

Prescribing Joy: Joy in Creation

Owen (poetry blog; prose blog) is a highly creative mathematician with, in his words, “no talent for certainty” but “some capacity for empathy.” That “some” is one of the greatest understatements I’ve witnessed in my life so far. Empathy flows through his poetry and prose such that my days feel kinder by far when interspersed with his words.

prescribing joy

Joy in Creation

When it comes to thinking about what brings me joy on a daily basis, my problem is limiting my answer to one thing.

I love to write, it brings me joy. I love to play the piano, it brings me joy. I love just talking to my wife, she brings me joy. I love playing with my grandsons, they bring me joy.

I love my job; I love to read; I love to drive down any road I’ve never been on. I love looking through pictures for poem ideas; I love stretching my muscles; and something as simple as a sip of a Pepsi brings me joy.

Running through much of this is this: the experience of creativity, whether mine or someone else’s, brings me joy. I love watching children creating new games from old ones; I love trading absurdist banter with my sons online; I love the more elaborate creativity of writers, artists, and companies of people who band together to make the more complex cooperative creative things, like television shows or movies.

owen image

I work at a business in a mathematical field, but everyone where I work recognizes the look of any work product I’ve done – i.e., they immediately know it was me that did it or designed it – because it doesn’t look like anyone else’s work. I can’t keep creativity out, and I’m grateful I don’t have to.

There is so much pure, daily joy in just making something that wasn’t there before, and as long as the joy remains in the creation and not in other people’s approval of it, it is a joy that can’t be sullied.

last : Casting On | Joy Is : next

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Prescribing Joy: Casting On

Jennifer and I met through my husband several years ago. We don’t often see each other face to face, but I am ever so glad when we do get the chance.

prescribing joy

Casting On

My needles sing my love for you
In loops of sympathetic wool
And cooler cotton comforts
To hold your hand when I cannot
Rows of patient Vs stretch from hem to hem-
And heart to heart-
That you might never feel a breeze without my arms around you

My needles sing my hopes for you
In tiny cuffs and buttons
Too small for grown up collars
But big enough to hold the world at bay
And strong enough to bear each step
you take away from me

My needles sing my memories
And cast love into lasting stitches
That some day, when my needles no longer sing,
You might in tissued boxes find my folded love song
And feel your mother’s arms around you
My kiss, in woolen whispers, pressed against your cheek

Joy in Creationnext

Prescribing Joy: your joy sought!

prescribing joy

A couple days ago, I wrote about a doctor who prescribed me joy.

I explained how this prescription changed how I feel about “just hanging on”:

Beyond that, please don’t just hang on.

Reach toward joyful things.

Seek out and savor that which brings you closer to joy.

Prescribe yourself joy, and enjoy its sweet taste on your tongue at least daily.

I asked you to stay tuned for a guest post request. This post is that request.

I’d like you to sing out what brings you joy. You can do this by actual song, or by prose, poem, collage, interpretive dance, vlog, or whatever other mean feels right and joyous to you. Read more…

Categories: Family, Love Tags: , , , ,

Prescribing Joy

I’ve listened to the Hamilton soundtrack almost non-stop for the last month and a half.

As each workday has neared its end, I’ve noticed the time and found myself excited about my long commute. Instead of thinking a string of expletives about my drive, I’ve thought, “It’s almost Hamilton time!”

The recording translated a cost to a benefit.

It invigorated me.

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I met my new doctor early last month.

A couple of weeks after we met, he provided patient instructions incuding the following: “make sure you take time for yourself every day – personal time – to relax/do your favorite activity – even if only for a short period.”

I rejoiced his compassionate instruction, but I was also perplexed: What do I even enjoy anymore?

It had been so long since the question even seemed relevant.

It took me a couple of weeks to realize my heart already recognized the answer my head did not: I enjoy the hell out of Hamilton.

I didn’t bother long with wondering why. In light of my doctor’s prescription, the joy was far more important than its rationale.

For months, I’ve wanted to host another guest post series, but I couldn’t find a topic. That, I found on the freeway about a week ago. Read more…

Freedom to walk outside without fear

Last week I wondered about the color of justice in my country.

Last night’s delivery of the Ferguson grand jury decision played out about as I expected it. Even anticipating it, I awakened feeling gloomy about prospects for real change in the United States. I continue to wonder

What it will take for police officers everywhere to approach men of all melanin levels in the exact same way, treating shooting as a last case resort in all cases.

I wonder how change can take root when bystanders support status quo by focusing attention on property damage over fatal violence.

changeAnd yet, with all this heaviness in my heart, I find reason to smile in the tiny men who own that heart. I can’t help giggling at how my baby is doing headstands–yes, headstands–while my husband tries to change his diaper.

I watch him dance and wonder what else will inspire him to dance in the years to come.

I pray freedom to walk outside without fear will carry his dancing feet far.

Lessons from a dancing baby

After patting down my almost four-month-old son, I let him air dry for a few moments.

standing jHe used those moments to dance. He’s learned many new moves in the two months since I first posted about his love of movement, so it was a joy to witness everything he’s since learned he can do with his body.

“Life is good, huh?” I asked him. He beamed and cooed at me, his version of “yes,” before flailing some more for emphasis.

“You’ve got a bed to lay on, a pillow to rest your head on, a cozy outfit, and Mommy and Daddy hanging out here with you. What’s not to love?” Flailflailflail.

Saying it out loud, I was struck by how simple his list was. His exuberance wasn’t inspired by anything costly or novel, but by the presence of loved ones and simple day-to-day artifacts of human life. In that moment he had–in all moments he has–everything he needs.

I want to live like that. I want to be so involved in the beauty of this moment that I forget any other moment has ever existed or will exist.

Not every moment will be full of typically “wonderful” things, but every moment can indeed be full of wonder.

 

 

 

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