Generation of Joy

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Is joy born, generated or created? Does joy exist only as one of the emotions? Or does joy exist in its own right and then, a ‘window’ in our soul opens and we perceive it?

I think maybe at least sometimes, it surprises us, thus our perception is that it exists in ‘kairos’, which we suddenly enter, apart from ‘chronos’.  C S Lewis’s  Narnia Chronicles illustrate the reality of truth as being independent of chronological time. I don’t really ask in order to introduce some philosophy on joy, rather, to explore common ground. Is this an experience you can relate to? – Being surprised by joy? C S Lewis wrote a book about it and he seemed to think so. Common ground.

I was not feeling especially joyful as I gathered poppy petals to press in the stream of pleasant jobs there are in preparing for a wedding. I have referred to this preparation time and why I’m writing about it, in previous posts. I felt simply calm, perfunctory as I laid the petals out after collecting them, onto papers where they’d be pressed flat under a rug between sheets of paper. Quietly, with a cheeky wink of innocent mischief, Joy came in, as a sister might, and sat on the floor beside me. The colours of the randomly laid petals were intensely beautiful, regulated in spacing to maximise the available pressing area. But there was an explosion in my senses that sparked a memory of an art exhibition of filmed explosions of floral arrangements. The exhibition was called ‘Flora’ and held in the Arts Centre in Aberystwyth in the summer of 2016. Common ground there is in simply exploring juxtapositions of flowers, their colours and how they impact us, disassembled, or even exploding!

I am preparing for the moment in a few weeks when these petals will be showered over a newly wed couple. It will be an expression of joy shared, love poured out with the blessing of family and friends when we, as parents, will let go of our respective ‘children’. Simultaneously, two individuals will be joined as a new unit. We will be illustrating joy with the tumbling of broken flowers.

Although this will be the end of the poppies in their natural form, the joy we celebrate when we throw a confetti of petals is for the marriage itself and what will be generated by this union. Parents in letting go of one child receive back two, with a different set of boundaries and responsibilities towards the couple from those that they relinquish as their son and daughter marry. The new couple will be exploring, evolving, generating new responsibilities and boundaries, and assuming some existing relationship ideas,  as their marriage strengthens. I anticipate it will be blooming marvellous, if  at times, a tad messy!

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When you pray, say

To be honest, I get anxious and I’m getting it sorted: I have a manual that tells me that I’m not responsible for anything I don’t have the right or ability to control.

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I thought I’d just let that sink in.

Coming from where I have been, responsible for everything I care about…(wrong but honest), I have prayed for these things.

My children, and my parents, for a start. Reflecting, I could wax lyrical about my brother and husband and the prayers I’ve prayed for them. And on and on for all sorts of people I never thought of as off limits because I have no right or ability to control them either.

When we are thankful, we parents, surveying the landscape of our children’s lives and it is like a sunny picnic, our words flow like bubbling streams, sparkly and fresh and joyful. Our hearts feel soft and tender like a beautiful meadow where the sheep lie down and rest. Our thoughts populate our spiritual sentences like buttercups and celandines, violets and daisies, Hopes and dreams like distant spires rising from the deep green canopies of righteous oaks and fluffy clouds dot the horizons and we are so peaceful with the vista before us.

When we pray over an earthquake in their lives, our hearts bulge, bleeding through the concrete circumstances and pour out like molten lava with desperation and a search for direction and hope, flowing with the invested energy of past ages all spewed out and potentially for ever gone. Our words rip up uncaring order and fling aside mundane bill board issues and pierce unwitting unknowns searching for answers and promises we forgot to file carefully in earthquake proof cellars. The angry tears and broken dreams create a filthy mush of debris where the children were supposed to play.

No I must only be anxious for the things within my control and then I will be free from anxiety.

It will take a while to learn this. Maybe I’ll report back. But don’t wait for the conclusions; they’re outside your control!

Destiny Is Light

Grief oiled the hinges of her bones
so she ran easily
into pools of joy;
of sunlight fingered petals
on the fading bluebell
in the heat of latter May,
pregnant with seed.
So she prayed
destiny discovering, probing
release from centuries of programmed
growth and entropy.

Patience sang a slow song in her head
so she laughed impulsively
at Pride’s solemn conviction;
‘Guilty and Redundant for All Time’.
Yet the only chains that held her
were these words.
Repeated in the chain mail rattle
of the surrounding army
where she found herself a prisoner.

Promise held the sinews of her heart
which sometimes missed a beat
in fear’s glare
But around her lay confetti
from the wedding day;
a reminder
that sealed hope over her quieter mind
like a silent witness at her trial.
In innocence she would be released
into the first embrace
That weighed her whole being.