Scatter Joy

My daughter-in-law is a United Methodist minister and sends me a preview of her Sunday sermon.  She delivers it on line now, as so many other pastors are doing.

Her subject was finding joy.  It seems there isn’t much joy around lately to find unless you are looking really, really hard.

Recently, I attended a funeral for a member of our book club. This was the last such gathering before the admonition to avoid large g She was much loved, and the service was well attended. Later on, we wondered what we could do to keep her presence at future meetings.  (You can’t leave our club by moving away, or even dying.)  Another deceased member is remembered at each meeting when we pass around a dish of “Barbara’s chocolates.”

So how to remember Jane?

Another member showed us birthday card Jane had sent her. The message on it was “Scatter Joy.”

That, we decided, would be a fitting tribute to a woman who found joy in simple things, and radiated that joy to all she met. The card will be displayed at all future gatherings.

So here you have two halves of the whole. Find joy, and scatter joy.

Sometimes we are the receivers, and sometimes we are the givers. But if we find joy, shouldn’t we share it? Sharing joy diminishes nothing.

I hope that in these dark times you find a little joy. And that if you do, you find it easy to share.

Stay safe. Stay home.




An island never cries

I didn’t expect the response I received after posting last week, both here and on Facebook. My goal was to say that we can turn our emotions, even such raw ones as grief, to  make our writing more authentic.

I didn’t intend to imply that my grief was somehow more deep or valid than anyone else’s. The truth is, at some point we are all going to hit that wall head-on and stagger into a new and confusing reality. And it hurts. There is no “more than” or “less than.” It just hurts.

We will lose those we love. There is no way to sugar coat this fact or turn it  into a euphemism. We will eventually lose our parents. We will lose siblings. Of the three of us, my brother, the youngest, was the first to go. My sister and I couldn’t understand it. We still can’t.

We will lose dear friends and people we admire but don’t know in spite of feeling a close connection to them.

Each loss is another blow, another chipping away at a heart already wounded.

How can you avoid this pain? It isn’t easy, but you can close yourself off. You can be like the subject of Simon and Garfunkel’s song, “I Am a Rock” and tell yourself a rock feels no pain … and an island never cries.Related image

You can distance yourself and avoid intimacy. You can turn your heart to stone.

But is it worth it in the end?

Wouldn’t you rather have had your parents, your spouse, your friend, in spite of the loss? Isn’t the memory of their love dearer than an island’s isolation?

Life hurts, my friends. If it doesn’t, you aren’t living.

But life also holds great joy and grace.

Hold on to that instead of your grief. Grief will diminish (although it never goes away), but joy and grace only increase if you let them.

Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.



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