It would be nice to continue the daily practice. I wonder what the chances are of actually doing it. As if blogging every day isn't enough, I've kind of/sort of joined another community that requires daily participation. What that means is I signed up to get a word from the Society of St. John the Evangelist (www.ssje.org) as an Advent meditation, but the chances of me taking a photo or adding to the global Advent calendar are pretty slim. I have, however, thought about today's word, "look" off and on all day.
If I wanted to continue with self-imposed discipline of daily blogging NaBloMoPo continues throughout the year. Each month has a theme. December's theme is joy. It sounds like a pretty easy thing to write about. The trouble is when I'm tired and stressed, shopped til I'm fed up to my eyebrows just for a parking space, baked and decorated and wrapped until I can't see straight, it's hard to see the joy, much less have the energy to
Joy doesn't usually come knocking on my door to announce itself. It's more like an Easter egg hunt. You have to look over, under and around for it. Sometimes it's right out in the open like bathrobe clad shepherds in a child's Christmas pageant. Or the Salvation Army bell ringer that has stood in front of the same grocery store for 3 years and acts as if he remembers your name. Other times it's hidden in an old person's smile as he reaches up to place the same tarnished star that's been on the family Christmas tree for over 60 years.
"Aha," as Oprah would say. The magic of joy comes from keeping one's eyes and heart open to it. For example, pulling 10 boxes of decorations down from the attic is, excuse my unholiday French, a pain in the ass. Yet, as each box of treasures is opened, memories of Christmases past fill the room like the smell of ginger cookies baking. You have to look inside the boxes to find the joy. I'm guessing those wisemen from years ago got pretty darn tired of riding their camels and sleeping on the hard ground as they looked into the night sky for the Star that would lead to a Bethlehem cow barn. But don't you know their hearts burst with joy at the sight they beheld - shepherds and angels, Mary and Joseph all circling a crib that held the "peace"filled Christ child. A gloriously joyful gift to be sure.
Three months after my mother died my father and I worked together to line our front yard with sand-filled paper bags for the annual luminary lighting. Dad's hip hurt, so he directed me in the fine details of exactly where to place the bags. I was under the impression you walk to the neighbor's drive way and drop the bags where it looked like they belonged. I had no idea there was measuring and counting involved. By the time we were through I was ready to place a bag of sand squarely on Dad's head. All it took to turn my anger into bittersweet joy was seeing the street lined with twinkling lights and knowing ours were perfectly placed, like the candles that would have been on my mother's birthday cake.
I actually have another reason to write about joy. I've been paired up with a facebook friend to check in with and share some holiday comfort and merriment. Guess what her name is. Joy.
Do you think my muse has conspired to keep me writing. We'll have to wait and see.
For now I bid you goodnight.