Glimmer of Pure Joy

I was in the car with Scott, listening to a radio show – there was some comedy bit about avocados and bananas, and then a story about potato gun wars between the employees of neighboring restaurants. And the guys talking were completely relaxed and enjoying themselves – there was no hint of worry about the state of the world, no mention of Donald Trump. They seemed totally free of doubt or fear. They were joyful without question, or reason. And for just a moment that silly radio show helped me transcend Trump and politics and war and fear and worry. For just a moment I felt an indescribable, effortless, fearless joy. For a moment I caught a glimmer of simple, uncomplicated happiness – a moment of heaven.  And that moment gave me hope, my friends.  I saw that this kind of joy is possible – and I remembered, vaguely, experiencing it as a child…

A glimmer of joy
pure, fearless, free, soaring high
taste of what can be
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

baby Karen in dirty dress

Dressed up to greet Dad when he gets home from work. (I’m guessing Mom went through a lot of laundry detergent.) 

 

Karen's twirly dress

Karen in her twirly dress.

 

Happiness is spiritual, born of truth and love. It is unselfish; therefore it cannot exist alone, but requires all mankind to share it.
– Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures

 

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The Pressure to Feel Merry

(Excerpt from The Madcap Christian Scientist’s Christmas Book)

It has been a challenging month for a lot of people. Yesterday when I was running around, doing last minute Christmas shopping, I ran into three friends who teared-up when I asked them how they were doing – one had lost a husband not long ago, the second had lost her mom, the third her dad.  The husband of a fourth friend is going through medical treatment for cancer. And then there is the tragedy of Newtown, Connecticut.

It just might be that some of us are not inclined to feel all jolly-cheery right now.

And I’m here to tell you, if you are one of those folks – it is alright. It’s okay to feel whatever it is you’re feeling.  There’s no need or reason to judge your feelings, or to try to force them to be what they’re not. That’s just silly.

At Christmas there’s a lot of pressure on people to feel “The Christmas Spirit.” No one wants to be the Christmas Scrooge.  I think we all want to share in the spirit of joy and generosity and hope.  But pressuring ourselves to be happy, trying to force ourselves to be jolly, is maybe not the best way to get there.  Then it becomes a battle, rather than a natural unfolding.

Here’s the good news: There’s no law that says we can’t feel the Christmas spirit on December 26th, or December 27th, or March 1st – we‘re not limited to feeling joy, generosity, and hope on this one day a year.  So even if, this year, we just can’t seem to get there on December 25th, we still have the opportunity to feel the spirit whenever or wherever it unfolds for us.

And here’s another bit of good news that I’ve discovered in my own adventures with sadness and grief: I have found that it is possible to be happy even when you’re sad. Which. Yeah, I know that sounds kind of weird, doesn’t it? But it’s true!

May joy settle upon you gently, moment by moment – may you catch it in the playful grin on a child’s face, in the uplift that comes from Beethoven’s Joy, in the smell of something good baking in the oven, in the hug from a friend – may you relax and enjoy those moments for what they are, and what they give you.  And may any pressure you feel to somehow make those moments bigger, or brighter, or louder ease and lift from you.

The_Madcap_Christian_Cover_for_Kindle (6)

Creature of Joy

choose-joy-4

Happiness is spiritual, born of Truth and Love. It is unselfish; therefore it cannot exist alone, but requires all mankind to share it.
– Mary Baker Eddy

…joy cannot be turned into sorrow, for sorrow is not the master of joy…
– Mary Baker Eddy

 

 

Unrepentant Joy

So I’ve been feeling kind of guilty because I’ve got this joy just bubbling up inside me right now – there’re big, fat snowflakes falling gently outside my window, and Christmas tree lights twinkling on the tree, and birds snacking at the birdfeeder, and a cat sitting in the window watching it all, and Burl Ives is singing “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…” – and this moment is just so perfect and beautiful! But I know there are also a lot of really horrible things happening in the world right now – cruelty and murder and corruption and greed and pollution and starvation – and so I’ve been sitting here wondering if it’s right for me to feel happy.

And… so what I’m thinking is… how is being unhappy going to feed starving children or shelter the homeless? And how is surrendering my joy to bullies and bigots and busybodies going to help end bullying and bigotry and busybodying?

So. Yeah. I guess I’m going to let go of the guilt. I am going to be shameless about my joy. Incorrigible. Irrepressible. Unrepentant. And I ain’t apologizing.

“Be happy at all times and in all places; for remember it is right and a duty you owe to yourself and to your God to retain the right, no matter how loudly the senses scream.”
– Edward A. Kimball

And now for a moment of joy…

“Happiness is spiritual, born of Truth and Love. It is unselfish; therefore it cannot exist alone, but requires all mankind to share it.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

This morning Scotty and I went up to Bellingham for a walk on the boardwalk with Sam the Wonder Dog, and then breakfast at the Harris Avenue Cafe. It was like this little piece of Heaven. We stepped out of the stresses and pressures for a couple hours – took a little break together – I told Scott it felt “luxurious.” It was fun sitting in the cafe, surrounded by happy people sounds.

I’m thinking we ALL need a little break right now – time to fill our beings’ up with the things that don’t rust, depreciate, or decompose: Love, joy, integrity, kindness, wisdom – these are things that never lose value.

“Think of all the beauty that’s still left in and around you and be happy!”
– Anne Frank

“Stop complaining about the management of the universe. Look around for a place to sow a few seeds of happiness.”
– Henry Van Dyke

“I believe we’re on earth to delight each other, make each other laugh, and to infuse one another with His joy. Why not? What’ve we got better to do?”
– Burt Rosenberg

(all photos by Karen Molenaar Terrell)

 

Love Does Not Depend…

joy

“This is the doctrine of Christian Science: that divine Love cannot be deprived of its manifestation, or object; that joy cannot be turned into sorrow, for sorrow is not the master of joy; that good can never produce evil; that matter can never produce mind nor life result in death.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

Happy for the Fun of It

Happy for the fun of it…:)

happy for the fun

I love this clip of a happy penguin that came through Facebook today – there he is, hopping around in the snow while the grown-ups stand there watching him. No one else is joining him in his frolic – but he doesn’t care if he’s hopping around alone. He doesn’t need any reason to be happy. He doesn’t need others to be happy with him.  He’s just happy for the sheer fun of it…