Joy: The good terror

Shy magnolia blossom. July 2012.

I have termed it "the good terror" -- when your chest is splayed open to the world and your heart tha-THUMPs, tha-THUMPs in broad daylight, unprotected and unguarded from all the joy flying at it.

Good because joy carries abundance and contentment with it; it wakes you up laughing. Terror because joy can frighten a body, especially when it piles on high enough to invite your distrust.

In what has been my happiest month yet this year, I'm trying to embrace the contradiction, and through these feeble attempts have rediscovered small joys that slipped through the cracks in bluer times. For example ...

Open-heartedness brought me back to cheese and crackers. To trying on flouncy clothes over a warm summer tan. To listening to a homemade mix CD right before dream time.

It prompted me to write today's prayer with a gel pen on college-ruled paper. I danced to Sam Cooke: Live at the Harlem Square Club before a Saturday night date. I didn't turn on the stove all weekend, and in related news, ate caprese salad for at least two consecutive meals.

Joy, I remembered, is singing alongside African drums and holding hands during church. It's affirming a kindred spirit over a Sunday morning strata. It's that incredulous, grateful lurch in the pit of your stomach when someone moves in to kiss you.

The good terror doesn't need an invitation.

It doesn't even need a reason.

Just a yes.

It'll take it from there.

Prayer #219: Resting in the Joy

Sitting in the happy, resting in the joy,
taking just a minute to bask and loll within it
and appreciate the sunlight, unalloyed.

Setting down the worry, breathing in the calm,
warmth I've waited long for, my tears abating now more
than what once pooled into my open palms.

Asking not "why me?", saying now "yes, let's!"
Welcome respite, this, to saturate with bliss --
the kind of gift one never gives, but gets.