I might have just passed through a slump. I’m only able to write about it presently, as I have hopefully emerged on the other side of it and can now move from it. I know that I’ve at least become able to talk with my friends about my struggling these past few weeks. I think that, for me, speaking like that about myself is a sign of my putting things behind me.
SO, TO THE FRIENDS THAT I’VE BEEN WHINING TO: Thank you for listening, and for dealing with me. It probably didn’t seem all that productive at the time, but I just needed to get some things out. What you saw was my taking a step in the right direction, not slipping further. Thankyouthankyouthankyou
(did i use my blog to whine more? This is good for me, not whining, you see…)
With that having been said I am going to use the rest of this post to talk about the subject of JOY. Its something I’ve been trying to understand these last few weeks— the nature of it, the function of it, and what we’re supposed to do with it.
But first, a poem by Emily Dickinson:
In many and reportless places
We feel a Joy -
Reportless, also, but sincere as Nature
Or Deity -
It comes, without a consternation -
Dissolves - the same -
But leaves a sumptuous Destitution -
Without a Name -
Profane it by a search -we cannot
It has no home -
Nor we who having once inhaled it -
Joy comes to each and every one of us, but it is impossible to capture or define. It is ‘reportless’ and unknowable. It is fleeting. We know only that we have experienced it before, and that it has left us with a feeling of ‘destitution’ in its wake. Depression, sadness, regret— all are symptoms of this absence of prior Joy, like it is something that has been deserved and lost.
The closest thing that the reader gets to a hint of the nature of Joy is that it is ‘sincere as Nature or Deity’. But this only means that joy is essential to our human experience, just as integral as Nature or God would be. Along these terms, it is equivalent to a person’s faith.
I feel Joy, I know Joy, but can I define Joy? Can I explain the nature and process of my own happiness?
Of course not. If I could report on my happiness, then the course of the rest of my life would be obvious. If I only knew how to be happy, to have Joy… A recent realization that I have personally come to is that everyone around me is asking this exact question: What will make me happy? What must I do? There isn’t a person in the world who wouldn’t like to know how their own happiness and Joy could be achieved.
Emily’s task in this poem is not to define Joy, but to speak towards its process and it’s function. We have JOY in our lives. We know that we experience that much. But what do we do with it? How do we let it affect us? Do we actively pursue it? Or do we let it come to us? (Joy does like playing hard to get…)
I have thought about this poem for several weeks now, and the best that I can offer is this:
I may never know what truly makes me happy. I may never be able to explain that. But I might one day know myself. I might be known to another person, and they might give me true empathy and understanding. Joy is reportless, but if a person can be known then a person can become closer to achieving their own personal happiness.
This is what I believe about everybody: That we are human, so human, we try so hard and it never works out like we thought it should’ve. I believe that everyone needs to be understood… that’s the best we can hope for, right?
Since its THXgiving, I want to say that I am so thankful for those who let themselves become close to others, for the Pursuit of Joy in this world, and for all of us in navigating our crazy human lives.