I fight a silly battle in the weird places in my head.
Something in me feels like it’s kind of wrong to have pleasure. Or JOY.
It plays out in normal and odd places.
Eating a brownie with ice cream (guilt staring me in the face).
Watching my kids enjoy each other’s company (thoughts careening through my head, “What about all the moms whose kids aren’t even speaking to each other?”).
Having the rest I need (accompanied by the niggling feeling that I should be working. ALL. THE. TIME.)
Getting flowers from a friend for no reason (when people live in squalor and alone).
Why is it fair that I have JOY?
It’s a battle that rages inside of me.
I try to make peace with those voices in normal and odd ways.
Reminding myself that my life isn’t a bed of roses all the time.
Wondering how much is too much pleasure and too much pain. Have I had enough of both?
Riding the merry-go-round of indulging and restraining and balancing and being thrown off the whole crazy ride.
Writing posts to figure it all out. Is it wrong to have pleasure? Sheer, unbridled pleasure? How much? How often?
Once upon a time, I read a book called the Celebration of Discipline. It talked about fasting and prayer and meditation and worship and all those very holy practices that guide us to a healthy spiritual life.
I am all good with that. DISCIPLINE. Hard stuff. “No pain, no gain” material. Somehow, it feels right.
But the last chapter did me in. It’s titled, “The Discipline of Celebration.”
What? What is that?
Easy stuff? Celebration? Joy? No pain period. Is this even allowed? And a spiritual discipline at that?
I guess it must be. It has to be.
Why else would God make laughter and singing birds and flowers and kisses and friendship and tickle fights and waterfalls and rainbows?
It’s seems like pretty big deal in this life.
Even Jesus talked about it and lived it.
He didn’t stop the woman from breaking open her whole bottle of perfume and pouring it all over his feet. Lavishly pouring it. NO SKIMPING. AT ALL.
He made it the very point of the whole story about the Prodigal Son. Kill the fattened calf. Rings on hands. Best robes. Big parties. FEASTING. Redemption.
He healed people and they thanked and praised Him and He straight-up received it with gladness of heart.
In the end, He told His friends that He wanted His JOY to be in them and for them to have it to the FULL. Not just a little. But a whole bunch of JOY.
This isn’t the easiest for me.
I wish it were.
But I’m working on it. One normal and odd step at a time.
I have to. I’m reminded every time I sign something.
It’s my middle name after all.
By the way…
I took a huge step just the other day.
Check out my sheer delight in NOT tipping over.