This morning was all about spiritual formation with Lorna leading the way. Spiritual formation is the course I would have signed up for thinking I was going to get an easy credit. As it turns out the one part of our course with no papers to write or books to read tends to mess with me the most.
It started out simple today with Lorna feeling led to make our session about joy. Joy is positive right? Joy should be easy. First we shared around the group our own sense of how our soul was doing, some reflection and then she led us into and exercise on joy.
Thomas Merton wrote, “The announcement is the great joy that the Lord is present and living in the world: that the Lord is with us. Dominus vobiscum
, the Lord be with you. This is what we are constantly announcing in the liturgy, that the Lord is present in the world.”
And Martin Buber said, “The beating heart of the universe is holy joy.”
After more listening prayer and reflection we were given 30 minutes for quiet reflection, mediation, whatever you’re most comfortable calling it when we get quiet and our hearts listen to God and our own soul. We were to consider joy and where and when we personally find ourselves caught up in the experience we call joy.
My reflection created this list. There is no order to this list, no prioritizing, it simply reflects pictures and moments where I know I’ve experienced joy. (The picture that came during further reflection with my class is that joy for me feels like that moment when gravity has lost its hold on my spirit.)
I've made this Wordle to emphasize there is no intended order to the list below - here's how it feels:
And here it is as a list:
1) Walking in the woods.
2) Playing in the surf.
3) Helping at the Food Pantry and other practical acts of service.
4) A house full of good friends.
5) Seeing people get it.
6) Teaching or preaching about Jesus.
7) Sharing beauty with my wife. (Scenery, art, experiences)
8) Travel adventures, especially with my wife or children.
9) Gaining an enriched understanding of the Text.
10) Watching a great movie or reading a great book.
12) Feeling like I have encouraged someone on their own journey.
13) Writing something meaningful to me.
14) Connecting friends with friends.
15) When I see, hear or feel the presence of true community.
16) When he whispers something to my heart.
17) A conversation with depth.
The question is, why aren't these built in to the rhythm of my life then? Why do I fill my time with things that fill time rather than things that bring joy? Why is my daily life so full of things that not only don’t spark joy but steal creativity as well, leaving me flat or depressed?
What stirs up joy in you? And how do you plan to make it an intentional part of your life?