Joy Regardless

January 21st, 2014

web trees and moonWhen life is going my way, it’s easy for me to write about taking chances, being bold, daring to leap. But it’s writing that sometimes seems all sugar and no salt because when my life goes off the rails, I struggle desperately to walk the talk, to face up to fear, to not go fetal in my bed in the afternoon. My knee-jerk response to adversity is to fold like a cheap umbrella in a windstorm when what I really want is to be as sturdy as this tree, as transcendent as the moon. Yes, I’m resilient and always bounce back, but I wish I didn’t have that initial reaction of panic, cowardice and surrender when trouble stops at my door. I was thinking about this last night when I stumbled across a line from “The Mad Farmer Liberation Front” by Wendell Berry: “Be joyful though you have considered all the facts.” The words lit up in my mind like mercury scrawled across the night sky. Because the facts are (contrary to what Pinterest and Instagram would have us believe) that dark days, poverty, illness, betrayal, loneliness, blood, snot, loss, pain and death are all mixed up in this life along with the big pink moons, laughing kids, leaping dogs, cake icing, wish bones, watermelon flesh, candlelight, snow angels, country lanes and new shoes. And the biggest fact of all is that we will every one pass out of this world, this green and gorgeous home some day. We will leave behind all we love and all we’ve accomplished and all we’ve accumulated. But maybe it’s possible, in the meantime, to be joyful even though we’ve considered all those facts. To use the candlelight to find our way through the dark. To savor the cake while the wind howls outside. To worship each moon as if it were our first.

6 Responses to “Joy Regardless”

  1. The “facts” cross my mind more often than I wish they did… the fact that it’s all temporary. I like to pretend that being in the moment and letting go of what won’t matter in the end slows things down a bit. Maybe it does? A little?

  2. lucinda says:


  3. Abby says:

    Well written. Beautiful. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts. I need to remember this especially during this crazy time.

  4. Carole Spring says:

    Joyful, indeed. In spite of the facts, and perhaps because of them, we cherish each and every day, filled with rain, sometimes rainbows, snow perceived from warm living rooms when we remember the joy of our first snowglobe, and stars ablaze with youthful passion. What a grand adventure we sometimes grumble about. Be joyful anyway.

    Thank you for this wonderfully written, insightful thought. Although I just discovered you today, I look forward to many more encounters and have only one question: How do you know me so well?

  5. My beautiful friend Carole (that one…just above this comment) found your site yesterday and promptly called to share. She’d picked up Skirt! shortly after moving to yon southern parts, and read your letter to 2014. Together we oohed and aahed over your brilliant use of words, something we both aspire to. After I hung up, I came to peruse this blog. I am utterly and absolutely in love! Your heart spills onto the pages…and makes me giggle with delight, or stop to let a thought settle in my own gut. You are a gift, Dear One! Thanks so much for sharing it with us! You have TWO new devotees now; and no doubt more to come. Blessings and giant hugs ~

  6. Veronica says:

    I think it’s OK to occasionally go fetal in the bed under a big blanket of Overwhelmed. It makes getting up and fixing a cup of tea and facing the world seem an enormous victory–because it is.

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