Joy is in This Place
I am sitting in my hotel room in the East Valley of Phoenix, close by to where I used to hang my hat, assessing the full day that is now winding down. And, I am thrilled and grateful to be able to say it has been a totally joyous day! I haven’t said that very often in the past two years of living on this planet dealing with a pandemic.
As I’ve learned, my joy comes down to relationships, to people, to connection. Spirit.
The impetus for coming to the big city for the first time in five months was to join in the celebration of the retirement of the two Unity of Mesa ministers. That Center continues exercising caution to help keep folks safe and healthy during these times, so I felt comfortable attending in person—and I’m so glad I did! When I met my friend Shannon later this afternoon, she asked how my day had been. “Perfect, absolutely perfect. Every single thing went according to plan.” Joyce’s plan, of course.
When I left Prescott this morning, I was treated to the unfolding of the sunrise as I drove serenely with no traffic through the hills and mountains, listening to instrumental music I love that had been part of a national parks’ documentary. Getting into town on schedule (Joyce’s schedule), my heart sank as I pulled into the diner parking lot of where I had planned to have a leisurely breakfast meal combined with my morning sabbath’s reading. It was very crowded, and my hopes started dissipating about sitting at a table (not the counter) in a private space. Nevertheless, I forged ahead, and to my surprise no one was waiting for a table, there was one available, and I was seated immediately! I had a good meal, with leftovers for lunch, fit in part of my morning sabbath, and had a lovely conversation with the waitress.
Unexpectedly, I arrived at Unity just in time to join volunteers, staff, and musicians for the pray-in that occurs ½ hour before the service. My attendance was a pleasant surprise to all (Joyce’s plan—and hope). I connected with the ministers individually before the service and gave them a card and gift. The service was filled with wonderful live music and testimonials, all exuding love, gratitude, and more for these two dedicated women who have enabled the Center to thrive while navigating through challenges. The sanctuary was filled with love and we were truly in community. There was laughter and tears, happiness and sadness. Above all, there were the grandest of wishes for Rev. Judy Hildebrand and Rev. Kathryn Kellogg as they move on to their next adventures.
I got to do some shopping at a favorite home goods store and purchased what I had specifically gone there for. Running a couple more errands, the day culminated with meeting up with Shannon at the hotel I was to stay at, which she had generously arranged. We hung out for several hours, catching up on many aspects of our lives, sharing from the heart, waxing philosophically, and showing support. She is such an inspiration to me!
But in assessing my day this evening, while it was indeed “perfect,” that’s not what made me feel joyous. As I said, for me joy is stirred up within when I connect with others, and thereby Spirit in the most exhilarating way. The day was filled with a lot of music, which is a part of my soul and close to God. Joy came from being in community, a spiritual community, where I have a history, and have relationships of varying degrees of intimacy. And, joy came from celebration, and conveying to two role models of spirituality in action the warmest and sincerest wishes on the next part of their journeys.
Spirit was indeed in that place. And, where Spirit is so palpable, I am in joy.
Thank You, Spirit!
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