Yesterday, was a day of joy. The day before was not.
Let’s start there/then in space-time with the day before, with the not joy.
On the surface, all was well, nothing especially amiss. But it’s so often “what lies beneath” that is our truth. And, like you, I imagine, I do not hide it, bury it, or experience any embarrassment of it. It is more an awareness, and then an inability to do anything about it. And, on this day, I found no joy. I could think of a few reasons for not having abundant joy, but I had NO joy; not a trace was in my field of view. And this is the guy who sees quite a few things and then covers them in WaughPaper. But hmmm, maybe I am blind to some things in my Self.
So, I went through the day with that, and I prayed all sorts of half-empty prayers. And again, this is the guy for whom the glass is always full, except in a true vacuum . . . It may be half full of say, water, but then it is half full of air; so it is always full. And a vacuum, an absence of substance, was what I was feeling.
And here are four words about feelings: They can master us. But, I have structured and hacked my life and body to a point that I usually know what I feel. I have structured and hacked specifically to provide so many constants, that it frees me to be more aware, more perceptive, to see and cover more, and to respond more.
And all of that applies to the way I feel. I usually know that it is indigestion, not illness; or a virus, not an allergy; or thirst, not hunger; or regret, not guilt; or guilt, not shame; or longing, not discontent; or caution, not fear; or wonder, not weirdness; or, you know, a good espresso, “pulled” properly with a fine crema, not a demitasse of disappointment. And I can tell a soft heart from a hard one, a sweet spirit from one with malice and spite, or a kind and loving soul, from one with selfish intent.
And I feel deeply. You can do that by caring deeply–as I try to do–or, feeling deeply can be an aspect of deprivation. And deprivation can be by choice, so you may deprive yourself of sweets in order to savor one small piece of fine chocolate. Or, deprivation can be imposed. So, you have not recently experienced say, love, and then you do and you can feel it immediately and intensely.
Well, all that to say that I am aware of feelings, and can identify them with some accuracy, and that on the day before yesterday–let’s join all 1.5 billion humans who can speak English and call it Tuesday–I “felt” a void, an absence of feeling any joy.
And another thing about joy: I do not need much of it to feel it deeply. I only desire a morsel, a faint scent, the brush of a feather, a distant whisper, a shift in the light, each consisting of joy. Any of these are my daily bread. And I find this joy through connection, through fiercely fighting in faith, in speaking Truth, in having someone else understand my Self within it all, in the glories of music, and in God’s revelation to me of his desire to be With, until that becomes my desire, and that Holy Communion WITH permeates my being . . . and it becomes joy. All of these, I do not currently have the capacity for, but any one or two or three! of them, well it’s more than I can ask. So, my dosage is small.
But all day I had looked, and found none, therefore felt none. Tuesday, then, was bereft of it, and I went to sleep, not weeping exactly, but with a tiredness brought by it all, or more accurately by the lack of “it all.” Of joy. And, not all, but a dose, you understand . . .
And then I woke up early on Wednesday anticipating something else. Anything. And I sensed its arrival. First, it made itself known as gratitude. Immediately upon waking, I was in it. Gratitude. For a few things and people and so on, sure, but not because of any of those; I was simply within it. Gratitude.
And, off to work I went, riding MAX light rail and then an angel-filled bus, to deliver mail on route 1. That is its actual number. In Arabic, the numeral assigned to that route is 1. I explained in the “About” section of WaughPaper that I do five mail routes. It pays more, and it is varied, and I meet more people, but it IS more difficult. So . . . that is why it pays more. And, I like it more! Each of my routes has its own set of addresses of course, and its own terrain, and as a result, each has its own character and challenges. So, I have given each mail route a name for the character, what I have encountered, seen and covered on each of the routes. And I do not consider the number of the route at all, I just name them according to internals, not externals. Early on I named this route my God Route. As in God, because of what has happened on this route, repeatedly, time after time. Encounters, not with people like on my Jesus Route, route 71, but encounters with holiness. With The Holy. With God. Number One.
So . . . route 1. I was on it Wednesday. Driving and delivering . . . in gratitude.
And then, something odd happened. Well, what is odd about it is that nothing happened, that I could see, but everything happened that I could feel. Around 10:30 to 11:00 a.m. it was as if the entire cosmos shifted. I felt that shift, like a rotation, and then in no time, I felt JOY. And, then, before I could even be thankful for the shift and the joy, my phone dinged with a text. I was working, so I did not look at it until much later, on the way home. But, I was now within joy
And then–I am not making this up–on Portland’s All Classical radio station, 89.9 KQAC, Ed Goldberg, the programmer at the time, announced . . . you might have guessed. It was Holst, The Planets. But not the entire suite. Ed had chosen only one movement. It was only an interlude, a kind of time filler, something to fill the programming void. Just after feeling the cosmic movement into joy, here on the radio I was hearing the third movement of The Planets, “Jupiter, The Bringer of Joy.”
Oh, and that text? I get these from time to time, short words of encouragement or challenge from a strange 5-digit number. A few come each week, and sometimes several days in a row, and it has amazed me, astounded me, perplexed and blessed me, how timely they are, how appropriate they are, and how helpful they are. And, I have never signed up for them in any way that I am aware. Yet, I get them. And, I always read them, but sometimes later in the day.
And this one, received just as I felt the shift and received joy, and barely before I listened to Jupiter, The Bringer of Joy, this text, as I read it on MAX on the way home after a day of joy, said:
“Know how your gut has a ‘baaaad vibes!’ alarm, Timothy? It also has a joy radar . . .”