Friday, March 27, 2009

reconstructing joy

Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessed face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice.
Excerpt from Ash Wednesday, T.S. Eliot.

I read the full T.S. Eliot poem in an autobiographical book entitled "Spiral Staircase," written by religious scholar and author, Karen Armstrong. She refers to this stanza and then explains how it helped her realize how we continue to work on reconstructing joy. I certainly related to her explanation and could see clearly how we are on a constant journey of ups and downs and all arounds as we strive to climb out of confusing stresses. Here are my own thoughts.....

Our discomfort, our struggles are all a part of reconstructing joy. Anxiety and the encumbering fears wrapped in the unknown have the capacity to cement us in limbo leaving us without the ability to move forward. If we work at recognizing these feelings in us, however, we can renovate by using this negative mortar as foundation for building joy again.

We demolish and rebuild….change/alter/reconstruct. Its inherent in us to do so. And sometimes in order to be able to do this, we have to let go of old joys, worn down constructions realizing they are past the due date. Never forgetting them mind you, but not allowing the past to have such a grand say in the rebuilding of our present and future joys.

Joy is never static. Sometimes its a feather fleeting touch. Sometimes we can soak in it for a long time, like a warm bath. Sometimes we can rejoice in it with another person in our lives and let it fills us a glow of love. We can grow in joy, but we grow most in the construction process where we are stretched, refreshed, poked and prodded. Joy is the gift after the growth....after the discomfort. It is always lovely to attain this pinnacle point.....the peak of the mountain where this zestful full bodied smile waits for us.....sitting comfortably in the hands of God.

When we feel joy, we feel whole and holy loved by God.

**the photo was taken at the Art Gallery of Ontario....This new spiral staircase was designed by architect Frank Gehry. Stunning to see in person.


Anonymous said...

every day something or someone will try to rob you of your joy, don't let them.
To give up your joy is to admit defeat.


Awareness said...

right on Mavis! I had never thought of it that way before.

david santos said...

Really great work. Nice reconstruction.
Have a nice weekend!

swile67 said...

It is brilliant isn't it. I'm so glad you were able to visit the new AGO! I loved my visit and took similar shots!

Selma said...

As I have gotten older I have found that when I am in a dark place the memory of joy sustains me and in the process of recovery little fragments of lost joy begin to break through. Not only have I reconstructed joy, I have reinvented my attitude to it. I appreciate the good times much more than I ever used to. An inspiring piece!

Awareness said...

david s...I'm glad you enjoyed it. the very idea that we are always in construction, and always striving for that piece of joy was illuminating.

karyne....its as far as i got however. I did love the new front of the building (unlike what was ALLOWED to be done to the ROM!!!!! What the heck??) My son and I went to the Raptors B-ball game while my husband and daughter took in the AGO....we just met them there afterwards. Though I've been through it many years ago, I think I will have to make time the next time I'm in Toronto. I should post some more photos I took when we were there. I was writing this piece and thinking about how stressful the construction part of our journey can be, i was transported back to moments in my life when real deep joy was attained and how wonderful it felt and how I had managed to get there. Our past experiences and the feelings surrounding them most definately impact our present goals and know joy is to want to feel it again and again. :)

Gilly said...

I do struggle to feel joyful! Seem to have lost the joy I felt when I first became a Christian, even though my life was a hundred times more difficult then. Maybe I've just got bogged down in the ordinariness of my life. But its such hard work to dig myself out I simply don't bother!

Still, little things all help to get me up a bit in the joy stakes, so I must hold on to those and stop expecting something big to happen!!

Awareness said...

Gilly...I think you would really enjoy the book I referred to here. Karen Armstrong has written several books on various religions and I look forward to reading them myself. This particular one was recommended as the starting point for me to read her stuff by my husband who has been a fan of hers for a long time. It is her personal story about her stuggles with the Catholic church. While she trained to be a Nun, her faith left her, to a point where she didn't even know if she believed in God....saw it all as a myth. I'm only halfway through it, but am finding it quite gripping and moving.

Non-non said...

Awesome piece... Im at a point where i need to reconstruct joy and make some changes and this gives me hope coz i've just been clinging to a past joy thats lost... Inspiring blog!

Awareness said...

Non-non...OUI! OUI! Welcome. I wish you well. New joy is out there...sometimes its hidden under a nest or two. Just like an Easter egg hunt! ;)