Making Joy A Daily Peace Practice

Fellow Peacemakers shared this quote with me. Tom and AJ further clarified it this way: “Joy lives only in the now.” 

“We encourage you to make the most of this moment, for it is only in this moment that joy is able to exist.”

When was that last time you remember experiencing Unadulterated Joy? It happened to me today when I was preparing and then consuming a tomato sandwich. I’d made the herbed mayonnaise a few days ago. The salt and pepper stand always at the ready. The olive oil bread was a happy coconspirator… slice bread, spread mayo, thickly slice an heirloom tomato, pile as much tomato on each bread slice as I can, salt and pepper… and ahhhh. Unadulterated Joy.

The same Joy arrived yesterday in the form of two ears of sweet corn — one white, one butter and sugar. And then there was swimming. Shortly after that, a meal with a friend. Those were big joys. There were little joys as I made the guest room bed and smoothed the freshly washed blanket. There. Pristine again. Joy, even if it wasn’t my bed. That Joy is reserved for this evening!

Voilà! And there you have it. This Joy thing isn’t that difficult. But it is transformative. If I recognize moments of my life as joyous, then I’m looking for the new joys, which support me in my writing about Peace and Tarot and which also help me find Joy in my work at the hospital. Sometimes, I’m joyous because I am so much stronger now than when I started and I don’t arrive panting to the trauma bay. Sometimes I’m joyous because I support a patient, a beloved, or the staff in moments of great difficulty. Even in the everyday tasks, joy can be experienced. It is such an honor to be present in these moments, to invite others into the sacredness of the mundane and the tumultuous, and in that inviting to be invited in. Inviting people in. This is most fundamental action in Peacemaking.

There are certainly days I leave the hospital physically exhausted. Some days even when I’m emotionally shattered. But they are not the norm, and, even then, there is a quiet upwelling of Joy that I have been of service. Other days the Joy comes from the fact that I have enough energy to attempt (and then conquer) an end of the day flight of steps. (You have to conquer, if you get half way there, right? It would hurt my knees as much or more to descend! Funny things, these aging knees.)

Because we’re constantly pitting Peace against war, some people wind up believing we have to take Peace very seriously indeed. In their minds, nothing says Peaceful effort more than a furrowed brow and too many clenched muscles to batter back the warmongers. But that’s not what we’re doing. Peacemaking is Joyous work. It is warm and invitational. It makes mistakes, shakes heads laughingly, and begins again in Love. It looks for sparks of Joy to light up our lives the way fireflies light up a summer’s evening. If we notice Joy sparking and sparkling, choosing Peace becomes that much simpler and opens our hearts to invite people in. When Joy abounds can it really be that unrealistic that Peace can flourish?

Making a decision to notice even the smallest Joy is making the conscious choice to heal. Let’s talk about this some more, the next time, shall we? Until then, I wish you a whole ripe, red tomato sandwich full of unadulterated Joy. Or maybe a juicy Peach. What better delight to take with you as you make the Peace way? Look! Look around you. Isn’t that joyous? Isn’t that Peace. Joy in the moment creates a place and a practice for Peace in the world.

Salaam, Shalom, Peace. Blessed be.