Thursday, February 9, 2017

FINDING JOY IN TIMES OF FEAR & UNCERTAINTY

If you are at all like me, you are probably eating far too much ("I NEED 4 cookies!"), drinking too many glasses of wine, doing retail therapy, and lying on the couch watching reruns of "Scrubs" because SNL is too close to the truth to be comforting.  Also, you may be spending far too much time on social media, Facebook, Twitter, and obsessively reading breaking news from the NY Times. Then bursting into tears or hitting a pillow. When I die of stress I am going to sue the Times. Ah, maybe better to sue before I die.

This administration is downright scary. Terrifying, illegal, unconstitutional, breaking democratic institutions, and flirting with autocracy. As the daughter of Marxists, I find it hard to keep a level head these days.

So, I am thinking of ways to keep joy alive during these times. Joy is different from "happiness" which is the feeling you get when things are going well; you just dropped 4 pounds; your partner brought flowers and Chinese take-out; and your child learned to read. Joy is not so much a feeling as it is a choice.  As in--I choose to be joyful because my life is rooted in God. I choose joy because I belong to a faith community which engages, supports, and strengthens us. I choose joy when I stand on my deck as the flakes spin down, holding my tongue out and wondering which geometric shape this flake has.

And that reminds me that the entire world, heck, the universe, is held in God's hands--snowflakes, pigeons, cranky children, poor refugees, hustlers, fat cats on Wall Street, all are held.  

It's just that right now I am a little nervous about those hands and wondering did God foresee the damage that's being wrought? Was he on a bathroom break or searching for his cell phone which he--like me--is constantly misplacing?

Who knows? But back to our discussion and how to keep centered in the current maelstrom of bad news. I choose joy when:

--I watch my Jack Russell terrier sail like a bird in flight over the snow, chasing squirrels.
--I kneel in church and the communion hymn is "Here I Am Lord." Kneeling invites joy as our thoughts settle and a way opens for the spirit to speak to us.
--I see millions of women in pink hats showing up for the biggest protest march in history. We are not alone! We have power! And darn, but I love those pink hats.
--I see pictures of my cousin's new grandson, called "Mr. Cheeks," for obvious reasons. The generation continues--new lives are coming into the world.
--I listen to anything by Bach. Music thrums through my body, lifting my spirit. At times, music feels like the hand of God.

This is my list, and yours will probably be quite different. Making lists is a wonderful way to resist, sure to lift your mood and help you
see that all is not lost. Those horrors will not have the last word. We are on it!


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