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Dilemma of Joy

My treasured keepsakes bulge in pockets of time, tucked hard against the bones of my heart. They remain as fresh and life-giving as the blossoms of spring rosesbuds, tight with fragrance and bleeding of crimson that smears across my fingers as I pull them out one petal at a time. The edges are frayed and somehow old and young at once.

As a child and an adult, I’ve sat at the piano with Bach or Chopin for two or three hours at a time in awe of such a remotely deep connection. I’ve lived close to the blue Danube and sprinkled my food with the richest paprikash of Hungarian delight. The deep, foreboding underground metro in Moscow scared and scarred me awake. The silver chopsticks of Korea dubbed me an amateur on the hard floor of a church basement. My muscles revolted in pain, but the moments of kindred fellowship rose higher than the inconvenience.

I’ve enfolded prayers into the cracks of the Western Wall and witnessed the great religions of the world collapse into obscurity at Skull Hill.

I allowed the Psalms of Ethiopia to wash over me in Addis Ababa as tears flowed for the marrow of civilization in the light of eternity. The elegant Ethiopians walked across my belly and touched the palm of my hands, and the beat of their prayer sticks made my feet dance. I have never really left that country to this day.

I’ve admired the ancient terracing of Cyprus just before sundown when shadows lengthen in beauty, and I’ve drooled over the wild buds of almond flowers breaking open with hope.

The faded Kodak of two-year old Bonnie sitting on my Grandpa Saul’s lap lives on as if it happened yesterday as do the promises and kisses of marriage at the altar in a flurry of ivory, lace and the palest lavender. Years later my husband and I lived from suitcase to airplane and stood on three continents in one week and proclaimed the one true God in the exact image of Jesus in utter weakness and strength at once and asked for grace to go on.

Now I hold my grand babies and realize my pockets are full and deep. I’ll keep jamming the seasons into the ample, unbuttoned openings until the seams bust—bust with joy—

joy for more

and the ultimate joy of no more.

The BEST holidays

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