From Sandra’s Study by Rev. Dr. Sandra Fees
Even a wounded world is feeding us. Even a wounded world holds us, giving us moments of wonder and joy. I choose joy over despair. Not because I have my head in the sand, but because joy is what the earth gives me daily and I must return the gift.
Robin Wall Kimmerer
Joy exists even in a hurting world. This month we are exploring how we open to joy. Joy isn’t a static state that we arrive at. Instead it’s an experience we encounter when we stop and notice wonder, when we notice the gifts that the earth offers us on a regular basis. How can we do better at being captivated by joy every single day in some small way?
Designer and author, Ingrid Fetell Lee, encourages the simple practice of “Joyspotting.” Joyspotting is paying attention and savoring images and experiences of joy. Keeping a joy notebook is a great way to engage this practice.
Take a moment right now as you read this to bring to mind one joy from today. My list (because why stop at just one joyful moment?!) includes:
- Playing laser lights with my cat Belle.
- Lunch with a friend.
- Leaves of many colors.
- Sun streaming through clouds.
- Receiving a note of appreciation.
- Snuggling in front of the fire.
- Twinkle lights.
I hope this month you’ll take a little time to identify at least one joy every day. What an incredible gift that would be to yourself. What a meaningful way to honor the gifts of this earth.
I wish you many moments of joy in this holiday season.
This month our collective focus at UUBerks is exploring ways in which our times call us to “Open to Joy.”
Certainly the music of this month often resounds with Joy. A lot of songs tell us to be joyful “Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice Greatly!” Handel wrote. He also has that lasting ditty “Hallelujah.” There’s more recent additions to the Christmas season cannon wishing everyone “Happy Holidays,” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” and have us scurrying all about in Jingle Bells’s scene of “dashing through the snow!”
Sometimes though, all of this expected merry making is just a bit overwhelming. Sometimes my heart grows three times smaller and more closed off as we are told to be joyful when … insert awful personal, local or global tragedy here … and the Christmas machine keeps humming.
But there are quieter songs, sadder songs, wishful and wistful songs too. Songs like “River” by Joni Mitchell, hymns like Still, Still, Still, or sneakier songs with joy and sorrow like Judy Garland’s classic recording of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.”
It’s songs like these that help me reopen to joy after the sonic joyful onslaught of tinsel and jubilation. What do you hear in the songs of the season? Do you hear the reindeer approaching? Do you hear the joy? Does what you hear help you reopen to joy? I hope so.
nadine j. smet-weiss
a hidden jewel
of our being