ode to joy
I have an incredibly talented and thoughtful group of friends. Many of them write regularly on their blogs (there’s a whole list of them in the column to the right). Really, my friends–especially those far afield–are responsible for my renewed writing binge here.
Case in point: My friend S. recently moved back to Alaska. To keep abreast of the shenanigans of she and her lively three kids, I’ve been reading her blog regularly (because, like I said the other day, I’m a bit of a stalker). Around Christmas time, she wrote an incredibly beautiful post about how she has fallen in love with every church and faith community to which she belonged. She talked about the candle service at the church where she grew up, the banjo sermons at a small-town Alaska church, the generosity and sense of community she felt in every single one. And most importantly, she described the somewhat ramshackle volunteer choir in her current church. Now, maybe I was particularly hormonal or emotional that day, but I found her musings moving and beautiful. And it made me think how often hollow our academic/urban/atheist/modern/ambitious/[insert your own adjective here] worlds and existences can feel. I’m not saying anything new here; my reaction to her post was actually rather predictable. In fact, the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes it far more eloquently in his book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, than I ever could:
…sooner or later we wake up alone, sensing that there is no way this affluent, scientific, and sophisticated world is going to provide us with happiness….after each success, it becomes clearer that money, power, status, and possessions do not, by themselves, necessarily add one iota to the quality of life.
Csikszentmihalyi may have said it better, but I was still moved to write S. this response:
So I have added all of my friends’ blogs to a blog feed, yours included, and I just had to write you after reading your “Volunteer Choir” post.
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While living in Mexico, I joked that speaking Spanish forced me to be far more Zen about life: Since I could only speak in the present tense, I was forced to just live in that present tense.
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