December 24, 2016


Tonight, as I sit typing on this quiet Christmas Eve, waiting for the kids to fall asleep, so we can wrap the presents and put them under the tree, I want to write about joy.

Anyone reading my posts the last few weeks, may have noticed a lack of joyful posts. The reasons for my somber posts should have already been made clear, so tonight I will not dwell on the past, but focus on the present- this moment. Tonight. And the meaning of joy.

I want to write about how joy is sometimes the simple awareness of reality. I am not one prone to elation. I've had my moments, but my times of pure jubilation are not too common. I am not sure how others receive or spread joy. I am a quiet about it and seldom make a fuss. This reserved behavior might be mistaken for joylessness or worse a quiet despair, this is not, in fact, true

Let me tell you about today’s joy:

At lunch, Kaia was asking about the nativity story. Marin and I did our best to fill in the blanks. It was a hodge-podge retelling for sure and I felt the need to add some historic context about how the Romans had occupied Israel and a few details about the crucifixion that had Skyelar pretty freaked out, but Kaia seemed interested.

The conversation spilled over into our walk to the movies: We talked Genesis and the Bible; Kaia was a bit taken aback that according to Christians, only people who accept Jesus as their personal savior are allowed into heaven. We spoke about sin and Islam and the patriarchy. We spoke about Greek myths and the power of folklore and storytelling, we spoke of ancient people and how Science has revealed so many thing we didn’t know about in the past. We spoke of evolution and the big bang, of Persian culture, and the invasion of Muslims to Iran in the 1300s. We spoke of Farsi and traditions. We spoke a lot. She asked many questions and pondered in the silences.

“I just don’t understand why so many people think they are right, when they can’t all be right. Why not just try to accept the fact that we are all different? ” This brings me joy.

The AC in our car is broken. Today as we drove home in the rain, the inside of our car felt like a furnace. The windows were fogged up, we were sweating and a horn heavy Diana Krall X-mas carol had me wishing for death. We were tired and cranky, but as I sat there sweating my mind drifted to the many chappa rides I endured in Mozambique. I thought back to the hours and miles I collected suffering quietly in the name of adventure.

I thought about how soft I have become in my old age. Sitting in the comfort of my own car, with my family, complaining about the heat. This somersault of the past and the present brought me joy.

We watched the Griswald Christmas Vacation movie tonight and Mairin was a bit nervous that it would be inappropriate, and oh boy was it. The language. The weird sexual innuendoes. All of it was weird and fun and magical. Our kids are so sheltered sometimes that it was fun to discuss what it means to “shit bricks.”

We watched the movie. I had a glass of wine in my new red wine glass, no more plastic cups for me. We ate cookies and laughed and relaxed. This brings me joy.

Joy is not a state of ecstasy for me. Joy is being awake to my life as it passes by. Small photographs and memories. Tiny dreams come true. The realization that this is life. Everyday. Everything. It is all here to enjoy and devour and ponder and live through.

I hope that you are able to glimpse a few of these moments, and capture the fleeting flakes of joy as they fall around you.

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