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Day 71: JOY beckons...


Nadia Bolz-Weber’s newsletter caught my eye this morning—Sunday Prayers of fear and rage. She coined a term for it, FRAGE…as she added prayers of gratitude for everything “the SCOTUS rulings seek to destroy.” This is a direction I can join in on today, though I don’t find myself in frage. My last year’s journey (and some) is teaching me a different soul posture somehow…grounded in the present, devoted to spirit-friends in my life, unwavering in being faithful in what I can be faithful in…

…so toward that end, it has been a JOY-full day, which is to say a day full of both anticipatory spaciousness and bittersweet departure.

In my heart's mind, I hear C.S. Lewis and his wife, Joy, as portrayed in Shadowlands. Lewis has a ‘certain kind of happiness’ he defines for himself. Presence. Here. Now. Being enough. Then Joy wants to talk with him about her impending death, knowing that the remission of her cancer will not last. The glimpse of the dialogue provides a good summary:

“[This happiness] is not going to last, Jack,” she says.

“We shouldn’t think about that now…let’s not spoil the time we have….”

“It doesn’t spoil it. It makes it real.”

“What is there to say?”

“That I’m going to die. And I want to be there with you then too, which will only happen if I can talk with you about it now. … The pain then is part of the happiness now. That’s the deal…”

The pain then is part of the happiness now.

I remember when these words first landed in me. Tears pricked my eyes in the Princeton theater. Revolutionary for me: happiness and pain are related, connected somehow? Not exclusionary? Changed my life…

…and so today, smiling and a little sad, as I have spent the day preparing my/our home for what I call ‘hermitage days.’ Brian departed for his pilgrimage-vocational work, leading a group of 25 pastors on a Holy Land pilgrimage with rabbinic friends. We took a new tact this time, not saying good-bye, but I’ll see you soon. My heart-strings stretched as I watched him take his (small!) bags into the airport.

No less true…I breathed a spacious sigh, loving and needing these hermitage days in which the entanglements of his role are blissfully absent. When I don’t tend the emotional ups and downs of his congregation because I am loving him. When I get to listen for Godde’s nudges and movement for me, just me.

It’s taken me years to honor this rhythmic need in Us… Our life is hitched as one AND we thrive most when we have our hermitage days too. He takes his days as his spirit thrives…on pilgrimage, in the Holy Land. I take my days on retreat with circle-friends, or…like today, at home, in blessed solitude…

I nest…clean/purge the fridge…write…pray…nap…food-prep for on-plan eating…jigsaw puzzle…read…snuggle with Nala…celebrate the flow here…


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