Grandpa, what’s joy?

Video

Grandpa, what’s joy? Is it like happiness?

Good morning, Elijah! What brought that up?

Mom keeps singing “Joy to the world”! What’s joy? What’s the world?

Joy is deep gladness, Elijah. Happiness is like joy, but joy is deeper. It has to do with who you and and an inexplainable assurance about you, your Mom, and the world. It’s a deep inner gladness. You show it to me every day.  Don’t let the world take away your gladness, Elijah!

Okay, Grandpa! But what’s with that third stanza, that thing about the curse?

Oh, that! “No more let sins and sorrows grow, Nor thorns infest the ground; He comes to make his blessings flow Far as the curse is found, Far as the curse is found, Far as, far as, the curse is found.”

Yeah, that. What’s the curse, Grandpa? We’re not supposed to curse, right?

Right. But this is a different kind of curse. It’s the curse of selfishness and greed that bring sorrow to the world.

Isaac Watts — he’s the one who wrote the words to “Joy to the World” for Christmas — knew all about selfishness and greed when he wrote “Joy to the World” way back in 1719. Isaac was English. He knew all about colonialism and the nations.

Yeah, my baby-sitter really loves that last stanza about the nations! She says American exceptionalism is a curse. She really likes that fourth stanza. “He rules the world with truth and grace, And makes the nations prove The glories of His righteousness, And wonders of His love, And wonders of His love, And wonders, wonders, of His love.”

  • Grandpa Gordon, Chaska, MN, December 20, 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pure Joy

Lucinda is a five year old. Barclay is almost four. But Barclay is much older than Lucinda. In the human equivalent to Lucinda’s age, Barclay will be 28 in May.

Here’s a glimpse into Barclay’s playful spirit from when he was two (i.e., 14).

Last night, around the dinner table at the birthday party for the much older 36 year old and the 31 year old, there was lively conversation. But down on the floor, and sometimes under the table, there was pure joy – a little girl and the favorite dog she lives to visit.

Lucinda is a very active little girl. She never stops. She’s here; she’s there; she’s everywhere. She demands to be the center of attention. But she loses herself and gains it with Barclay whose great blessing is that he knows he’s not the center of the universe. He has to wait for others to play with him – and sometimes, on the best of days, the other is Lucinda, the favorite playmate who brings him pure joy for an hour or two.

The smiles on Barclay’s and Lucinda’s faces were as unmistakable as the light from the candles on the cake.

Sadly, moments after Lucinda’s family left our home last night, her cries and screams pierced the darkness on the sidewalk outside. Barclay was very sad, too. But he’s also the older and wiser of the two playmates. Cocking his head and looking up at me, he said, “Poor Lucinda. She’s still very young. She doesn’t understand yet that ‘Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning’ – Psalm 30, right Dad?”

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, March 20, 2017.

 

 

Cherubic smile

Joshi Daniel’s photograph reminds viewers of the power of inner joy. Thank you, Joshi, for using your extraordinary gift in a way that makes the world a better place.

Joshi Daniel Photography

Black and white portrait of an old woman with an angelic smile from Trivandrum, Kerala Old woman with a cherubic smile | Trivandrum, Kerala, India

This charming old lady kept on speaking to me while I took this photo of hers.

View original post

Freed from the leash on 9/11

Yesterday, on the anniversary of  9/11, Kay and I hiked on the Echo Trail near Ely, MN with 2 year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Barclay. Barclay knows nothing about airplanes, falling buildings, religion, economics, terror, or war. He makes friends with everyone. He rejoices in the present, leaping in the air, joyful for no particular reason.

On the hike we set him free from his leash and watch him romp along the trail, out and away from us – but not too far – and then galloping back like a race horse when called. Unfortunately, Kay’s slow motion video wouldn’t load for viewing.

Freed of his leash

he runs and leaps

his feathery coat

and flopping ears

fill the stale air

with the breeze

of joy unleashed.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, September 12, 2015

Since we couldn’t upload yesterday’s slo-mo video, here’s a different view of Barclay’s playful spirit.

He had his own means of communication

My cousin Dennis sent this following the post about his older brother Alan who was paralyzed with Cerebral Palsy. See the earlier two posts on Views from the Edge for background information.

“For all the limitations Alan suffered, he was so loved by all of us and in his own way could express his love with ‘ah’s and laughter and joy that came through his facial expressions, vocal inflections and expressive eyes. He had his own means of communication which Gwen and I grew to understand. He could express all the human emotions. Alan could speak in his own special way. He called our Dad ‘fata’.

“I learned so much about life and what real love is from growing up with him. We never felt him a burden in any way. We all helped feed him, bathe him and change his diapers.  It was a family project that we all did willingly.

“When he was put in an institution we missed his laughter and grieved for him deeply as a family. I don’t think any member of my family was loved and admired more than Alan.

“My father, mother and sister would be so proud of this blog.  Their hearts would soar knowing Alan is part of the real world again and a living example of God’s love for us all.  Alan did not live in vain.  He was a courageous person who had to battle through his palsy to be just another human being like you and me.

“No father cared more for a son than my  Dad.  He was entirely devoted to him.  And Alan looked up to him with adoration in his eyes.  Alan could utter several words much like a one year old. He used his throat and lips to utter a very gutteral sound that few could understand but the immediate family.  His ‘ah’s were his method of communicating his emotions and it varied depending on the circumstance.  He understood everything you said to him and he would respond in his own way to let you know that he understood what you were saying.  His eyes and facial expressions spoke a thousand words.”

Joy and Gratitude – my cousin Alan

Over lunch today my 89 year-old friend asked what had drawn my attention to my paralyzed first cousin Alan who never spoke a word due to Cerebral Palsy (see Views from the Edge’s  post “Father and Son – Bob and Alan”).

Alan was completely helpless. His body was rigid. He had no control over his bodily functions or anything else. He was utterly dependent on his family. He could not feed himself. He couldn’t speak. Even so, his eyes communicated joy.

The joy of kinship and love came from inside himself in spite of all.  I want the joy and gratitude that emanated from Alan’s eyes and smile whenever we came into each other’s presence. Control is a debilitating disability – an isolating illusion – among the “abled”.

Joyful Obedience

Video

Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could all be this well trained in the things that bring joy to others and to ourselves? This is 10-month-old Barclay wanting to please the Alpha Dog and the Beta Dog. The commands were sit, down, roll over, off (which means “leave it”), come, and heel.