Saturday, March 10, 2012

Joy and Sorrow Part II

Have you ever had just an amazing day? One where you feel like nothing can go wrong, and nothing can hurt you? How about the opposite? A day when only bad news and sadness seem to follow you, whispering in your ear and coloring your sight. The past weeks have been filled with days like these. Days where it seemed the world stood still for a moment - frozen in sadness, or suspended in joy.

There has been so much sadness in the past few weeks.  Several people I know - several people very dear to me - have suffered losses in the past two weeks.  There have been more condolences, flowers, and black dresses then I ever want to experience in such a short time again. In addition to these losses, there has been a bitter-sweetness in the air as Boys Next Door (our Spring straight play) completed it's run.  This May will have a particularly important graduating class - the first BA Theatre class from my school, and Boys Next Door featured a large part of that class.  When closing night came and bows were taken, an entire generation of performers had their last round of applause on a stage that is "home base" for all of us.

Even with all of these things happening around me, I cannot say that these past few weeks have been bad ones.  While each moment of sadness has been big - huge, even - they can't undo the overall warmth and joy I've had.  The happiness comes from a hundred small things through out the day, and I think it is because of the big sadness that I've been tied to I've been able to feel the joy all the more.  The feeling of relief as you open an exam and realize you know the answers to a question.  The homey feeling when an old nickname is used in a new scenario.  Or the peaceful rhythm of completing silly routines and rituals.  For instance, every Saturday is cleaning day for my roommate and I.  We scrub the condo from top to bottom, doing dishes, cleaning the bathroom, clearing off the always-cluttered table.  This Saturday when we finished cleaning, we took a few minutes and made breakfast together: bagels, turkey bacon, hot tea, fried eggs, and an 80s music playlist.

Happiness this week was opening my mailbox to retrieve my stolen-and-then-found-and-sent-home-to-Mum cellphone and finding not only my phone, but a big red box of chocolates waiting.  The best part wasn't the first nougat filled bite, or the satisfying crinkle of cellophane.  It wasn't the candy apple red sheen of the box as it poked cheerfully up out of my heavy bag.  Happiness was opening the white package and seeing something - anything - inside.  The thought.  The extra bit of love.  I think that's maybe the biggest part of happiness: seeing, feeling, sharing, giving, knowing love.  At least, it is for me right now, at this particular moment in this particular life.

. . . . . .
Joy is different things to do different people - or even to the same person at different points in their life.  I'm so lucky to be in a place in my life where joy can take more than one form.  It's a real, tangible thing, being happy.  Something I think every sense can experience - for instance:

*I tasted joy in shared spoonfuls of creamy icy green, as me, Rob, and Karly split a bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream in the caf.

*I heard joy in a voice lesson that went better than anticipated: another song learned, putting me two songs ahead for the semester.  Hearing notes soaring out of my own throat that I was so afraid of so very recently - feeling their resonance in my chest and their lightness in the air.  

*I smelled happiness all around me as the first truly spring like weather reached out and held the east coast.  The first hint of melting snow and sap stirred trees mixing with that special something only spring time has.

*I saw happiness in a friend's smiling face as I turned a blue dress, a sheet of shiny yellow fabric, a black bubble skirt, and a spool of red ribbon into a snow white costume, complete with train and bows.  She looked so beautiful!

*I felt happiness in my first trip in the car with the windows down - it was only to the grocery store with my friends, but it was long enough for the sun to warm my face and the wind to tug my hair loose from my tight, sleek, winter ponytail.  

Everyone of those things is so small - especially when compared to the weight, size, breadth, and depth of the sadness that has touched our (me and my friends') lives recently.  Isn't that the beautiful thing about the human spirit though?

It takes a hammer to break us but only a single laugh to lift us back up again.  

Wishing you Joy, dear readers.

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