Expressing Joy

January 14th is Rubber Ducky Day, and as a promoter of celebrating holidays, last night I was posting a reminder about that on the Holidays that might get Overlooked page on Facebook. Years ago I started collecting files of holidays. I’ve always loved them. I love to see the interconnections. This year I enjoyed a series of books from World Book called Christmas in many Lands and I love seeing how culture and religion and food and people intersect in holidays. I enjoyed the facebook and when I contributed a lot, was made an administrator. Then a few months ago, the fellow who ran it entered a political race and stopped posting, so I took over. Even though I had decided I’d collected enough to satisfy me. When I saw someone else asking where the holidays were, I knew there was a way I could bring pleasure to others. So I’m sharing my holidays there, and even now keep finding new ones (like “Kiss a Ginger Day”, January 12).

While I was posting about rubber duckies I remembered a wonderful moment when the song Put down the Ducky, came on the television; it was one of the PBS fund raising specials, with many stars from the cast of Upstairs, Downstairs to Paul Simon to the NY Giants and Danny Devito and Rhea Perlman joined in, all dancing and singing and having a great time. We stood up and started singing and dancing too, and even now, when I heard it, it took me back to that wonderful moment. There are many other moments that transport me back to joyful times of my life, like when we were on the road to Pennsic and the theme from the Greatest American Hero, came on the radio and Ælfwine touched my knee and filked “Believe it or not I’m prince of the East, I never thought I would be,,,”. Many, many songs can do that for me- we sang in the car a great deal traveling too and from events, often filking. We filked the Gloustershire Wassail: “Wassail, wassail, wassail to you, our toes they are white and our ears have gone blue, our noses are red and our fingers are grey, please don’t send these wassailers away!” on a Yule drive to Mountain Freehold in a car with rather inadequate heating.  Another time Lisa Goldenstar and Steve had given us a tape of Clam Chowder, and we almost ran off the road laughing at Winter in the Colorado Rockies. We stopped and danced in supermarket aisles and other stores more than once. Not worrying about disapproval is liberating.

And why should anyone disapprove? Seeing people being happy, having fun, loving each other…, this is not cause for disapproval. It is far more likely to cause smiles, perhaps a twinge of jealousy, occasionally people joining in. Certainly it showed our kids that expressions of joy are good, and these are the moments I enjoy going back and replaying time after time. There should be a special word for the joy of nostalgia, or nostalgia of joy; for those “best of” our life moments. Perhaps the first step is to have the moments, to be open to and welcome the joy when it occurs, to dance, to sing along, to laugh out loud. IF you feel it happening, embrace it, don’t avoid it in case you look “stupid”. There is nothing more foolish than turning happiness away when it knocks on your door and asks to come in, and then, it always stays there in your memory, ready to reemerge at a signt, a sound, a scent. The briefest of moments can last forever if you let them happen.

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