sipping gentle medicine…

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Sometimes I wrestle  should I tone down the joy,
put a lid  on it because it might seem to disrespect
the pain that blanches another soul scraped on the thorns of living,
or heap on heavier the despair
or maybe just annoy like a fly
or a trite quip when someone is grieving.

I feel it too,  the ache,
my own life rocky with disappointment so sharp
that I hold it white-knuckled,  the word I chose
(my word for this year ~ anyway)
and it’s because of that heart-limp that I dig my heels in stubborn
and choose to joy all the more.

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I want to notice the flecks of softness shining in hard places
and drop quickly down,  cupping the dirt
and let it hold my gaze
until it strengthens what goes wobbly in me,
because joy is strong medicine
and when you hold her up to the light
she has the look of her mother,
courage,

and that’s why I search through the crowd for it,
make space for it,
circle it defiant,   protective,
as if it were a baby seal
stalked by men with clubs
intent on claiming it’s hide,

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because  I don’t want to let the harsh glare of living
force my eyes shut to the beauty
or steal away my joy;
it’s the gentle tug of healing balm that keeps this love alive.

I want to help grow your joy,  too,
so I’m having a giveaway this week,
some handmade joy-tending art
and handwritten love from me to you
Just leave a comment and you’re in to win.
i’ll draw a name next Easter Monday.  with joy:)

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“First,  I would like to write for you a poem
to be shouted into the teeth of a strong wind…”
-Carl Sandburg

25 Comments

  1. Julia Bourque on April 14, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    Hi Jennifer, what a beautiful thought provoking post.
    I imagine joy as a blooming fragrant flowers opening their petals one by one to reveal the hidden beauty at each moment, always changing and morphing, never static and full of delights…

    I wish you abundant JOY for this Easter season.
    Hugs,
    JB

  2. Maryse on April 14, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    Joy all the way, my friend. I find that it is interwoven with pain now, so I don’t need to chase it anymore, it’s right there when I open my eyes and see. ♥

  3. Elephant's Child on April 14, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    Too much joy is never enough. And memories of it, glimpses of it, brighten the darkest days and nights.

  4. kamana on April 14, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    dont ever put a lid on the joy. its contagious, so spread it around 🙂

  5. Suzanne on April 14, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    I appreciate you spreading your joy. Don’t ever put the lid on it. Shine your beautiful spirit. It certainly brightened my day. Wishing you a Happy Easter and spring. xo

  6. Wanda on April 15, 2014 at 6:53 am

    Jennifer, I like your determination to press into joy anyways. Your joy is contagious. Have a Happy Easter.

  7. jeanie on April 15, 2014 at 8:29 am

    Boy, do you and I ever think on the same lines. We’ll all have bad days, bad times, bad periods. We’ll have sadness and pain and frustration and irritation. But if we let that stop our inherent joy, what do we become? It isn’t always easy to be joyful when the world seems in a bit of a mess — and sometimes it’s OK not to have that joy pop out. We get sad and that’s part of life. But to let it rule you — that doesn’t do anyone any good. You seem to have found that answer, that joy spot. And oh, what an example you are to others.

    Happy Easter, my friend.

  8. Michele Bergh on April 15, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Ahhh, the sweetness of joy…a growing presence in my life through mindful living. So much of it to go around…thank you for sharing yours.

  9. Kathy on April 15, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    Positivity attracts more positive. Love inspires more love. Joy to you, my sweet friend! Hugs, kath

  10. Rebecca on April 15, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    I love this part:
    “joy is strong medicine
    and when you hold her up to the light
    she has the look of her mother,
    courage”
    Thank you, my friend!

  11. Ophelia on April 16, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Just so uplifting! Truly love it here. Such a great post.

  12. Bren on April 17, 2014 at 7:38 am

    Grabbing the joy, finding it in all the corners life presents. Beautiful post and photos once again Jen

  13. Donna on April 17, 2014 at 7:42 am

    I am behind reading blogs and will catch up soon, but I saw this on FB and wanted to drop in because your words touched me deep in my soul…..”because joy is strong medicine
    and when you hold her up to the light she has the look of her mother, courage…”

    What power and truth these words hold…they fill me up and bring tears of joy to my aching heart….thank you my dear, dear friend!!

  14. Donna on April 17, 2014 at 7:42 am

    I am behind reading blogs and will catch up soon, but I saw this on FB and wanted to drop in because your words touched me deep in my soul…..”because joy is strong medicine
    and when you hold her up to the light she has the look of her mother, courage…”

    What power and truth these words hold…they fill me up and bring tears of joy to my aching heart….thank you my dear, dear friend!!

  15. Susan Farris on April 17, 2014 at 7:49 am

    Just lovely…both the poetry and the photos!
    S.

  16. Jane on April 17, 2014 at 8:06 am

    Your writing warms my heart down to my toes! What a remarkable woman!

  17. Kimber Britner on April 17, 2014 at 9:21 am

    Your heart flutter is beautiful, both weak and strong, as you hold your gaze upon beauty.

  18. SImone on April 17, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Beautiful words and photography as usual. Your words – from the heart – are so uplifting as sometimes I struggle to see the joy and need a gentle reminder. x

  19. Amanda Fall on April 17, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    My beloved Jennifer, your words brought out the tears that had been bubbling in me today. I needed this, after feeling “the pain that blanches another soul scraped on the thorns of living”–and thank you, love, for reminding me . . . that joy always brings healing, that it is the underpinning of Grace, and we need not fear its ripple effect. Thank you.

  20. Barbara on April 18, 2014 at 12:44 am

    Never tone down your joy! What you share isn’t shallow, paint-by-number joy, but joy that trumpets triumphantly out of pain and suffering, and helps pull others into the sunlight. Thank you!

  21. Chris Graham on April 19, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    Your words, oh my goodness , I have felt that way so many times. My joy is my lifeline to faith , trust, and hope. I have gone through so many hurdles, challenges , and hurt in my life time but I desire deep in my heart to chose joy. I would never want to discourage or disrespect someone else. But I love Him so very much I cannot contain how grateful I am.
    Chris

  22. S. Etole on April 22, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    And the joy of the Lord is our strength. Enjoyed that poem by Sandburg as well as your words and photos.

  23. kathryn on April 24, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    with all that joy you’re lifting others up…that helps them…it’s our natural state, keep it up!!! 🙂

  24. sharon leaf on April 24, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    I have the joy, joy, joy, joy
    down in my heart.
    (Where?)
    down in my heart.
    (Where?)
    Down in my heart….**
    because of you, my friend…and of course because of Jesus too.
    Jesus and you…how blessed I am!
    **(an old Sunday School song)

  25. Leslie on April 28, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    Love that Sandburg quote (and I’m glad you fight to see the joy – it helps us to see, too.)

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