Finding Joy

For Christmas, my Mother (see Mom, I can use the preferred nomenclature!) gifted me with The Book of Joy. The book, a record of a 2015 meet-up between the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, is a wonderful chronicle of a week-long conversation between these two as they attempt to answer the question “How do we find joy in the face of life’s inevitable suffering?”

Really, finding that “joy” is a challenge for many of us. There’s a bit of fatalism in this. We cannot always control our universe and for those of us with the control-freak gene, that causes conflict.

…Anguish and sadness in many ways are things that you cannot control. They happen.

And then, there was this

There are going to be frustrations in life. The question is not: How do I escape? It is: How can I use this as something positive?

I’ve thought of these words often over the past 24 hours. So much of what I trusted in, believed in, thought of as givens, has been turned on its head. For me, there is little I can control so the question really does become, how can I use this as something positive?

Last Sunday, the actress Meryl Streep used her time on the microphone at the Golden Globes to do just that. Like Ms. Streep, one of the most pivotal, unforgettable moments of the past Presidential campaign was the sight of Candidate Trump mocking a disabled reporter. It shocked and angered me. And was followed by a seemingly never-ending barrage of events, each one more concerning than the next. And yet, the Candidate has become the President-elect and will shortly be installed in office.

Can those of us who are disheartened by this escape? I don’t believe we can, nor do I believe we should. Because if we don’t stand for what we believe in – whether it is health care or education or treatment of our fellow citizens who are less fortunate and who struggle – we have lost the moment for change.

We can, however, reach for positivity. We can stand through protest, we can stand by reaching out to disenfranchised and fearful. We can empower our lawmakers to also stand firm by contacting them when there is an important policy vote. We can let them know we are watching.

We can rise to the challenges ahead of us. What positivity can be made from all of this?

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