It’s the last Tuesday of August and time for this month’s OLW update. The month started off on a high note when Holly visited the groomer and the vet on the 5th and the vet joked with me that he hoped he wouldn’t see us again this year. My knee was feeling better (it still is), and I started playing a little tennis and walking in the mornings with Marc. and then things just stopped being ok. Maybe it’s an August thing for me because it felt a lot like last year (except for questioning my Enneagram type 😉 ) Thankfully, the lessons I learned then helped this year, too. I re-committed to my morning practice, especially the centering prayer time, and joined another community prayer group. I made coffee dates with a new friend. I kept up with the news, and found new ways to engage online. I gave myself permission to let things slide when I was in the middle of a good book. I said “yes!” to two new opportunities. I realized I was getting back to my basics … stillness, gratitude, connection, joy, courage … and making those choices helped.
And sometimes they felt hard. Courage of course (because always … but those two new opportunities were so worth it).
and also Joy. with headlines about full-to-bursting ICU’s, parents suing school boards over mask mandates, fires, floods, and war, finding joy in a beautifully written story or a bed of colorful flowers seemed shallow and somehow out of place. Still, I know in my heart that joy matters; it’s rooted in my faith. I believe in a God who created us out of love, to be joyful. I imagine my joy making God smile. It becomes a sacred act.
Ingrid Fetell Lee (author of Joyful) shared a thoughtful post last week “Can you still find joy when it feels like the world is ending?” She offers up a few different reasons to embrace joy in the midst of All This. The whole post is certainly worth your time, and if time is short, here are the three key points I noted:
“In a favorite poem of mine, A Brief for the Defense, Jack Gilbert writes:
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world. To make injustice the only
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.
The first lines of the excerpt are oft-quoted, but it’s these last lines that I think about again and again. It’s taken me a long time to learn that denying ourselves joy doesn’t lessen the suffering of others. And it diminishes the value of life when we reject joy and focus exclusively on the world’s pain.”
“I think it’s more helpful to view joy as a channel toward love, and toward hope. When we allow ourselves to experience the joy of the world around us, we become attached and invested. … If wallowing in the news makes us frozen and afraid, affection and hope are more likely to inspire action.”
“Rather than avoiding our anxiety and feeling guilty about our joy, we are better off holding both together.”
I’m always a fan of a good BOTH/AND. She goes on to provide some practical tips for how to do it.
I’m still not quite where I’d like to be, and I’m most definitely ready for a new month (a new month always helps). The weather forecast once Ida blows through looks delightfully cooler (life is always easier when it’s not so stinkin’ hot and humid). September also seems like the perfect month to focus on my basics. I’m sure I’ll learn at least a few new things.