Thinking about joy
We hear this word a lot during this time of year: Joy. Joy to the world, “Joyeux Noel,” all that. I’m fairly certain that joy was not invented by the Hallmark Corporation, but you don’t often hear someone admitting to feeling joyous these days. It’s almost as though joy has gone out of style.
It’s OK to feel joy on one’s wedding day, or at the birth of a baby…but just during the week, on a regular weekday? Seems a bit overdone, maybe.
Except that most folks, when you mention feeling joy, will have a look cross their faces–they’ve felt it, too. That expression on their face, brief, perhaps, or lasting a few moments, says that joy is something much more common that we usually admit.
I’ve felt it. And still do feel it, short glimpses perhaps, rather than full-on, turn-up-the-volume joy attacks. Joy is there. But it’s tough to write about. It’s easier to write about sadness than joy. Why is that, I wonder? It is simply more acceptable to be sad these days than joyful? Is joy less “PC” than sadness?
Joy for me lately hasn’t been a pure emotion; maybe that is part of why it is so hard to put into words. It’s usually mixed up with other things. I go outside to walk the dog, look around at the falling snow, the interlacements of the branches overhead, the cheery red bows of decorations showing out from under white patches, and I feel joy at the beauty, joy at the experience of seeing snow and trees and colour and life…but of course, the sadness of feeling as though I can’t leave here even though I want to.
Today was like that, actually. All day, a mixture of sad and joy. What a strange thing it is to be human.
It was a pretty simple day, really. We turned on the Christmas music channel, and opened up the gingerbread house kit we’d bought at the craft store.
After reading the instructions (which, by the way, would have made the IKEA man blush with pride), we mixed up the icing and got started.
It turns out that you have to let the icing harden inbetween each step. For an hour after the first bit is done. And then for three hours after the roof goes on.
After that, you ice the roof (with appropriate quality checks by Dusty, of course)…
And then you wait until THAT is dry…another hour or so.
That’s how things look right now. We thought this was going to be a one-day Amish barn-raising party, not a multi-day contractor’s dream of endless hours waiting for the spackle to dry.
While We Waited
Since we had unexpected time on our hands while the icing dried, we did other holiday things, such as decorate the tree with actual ornaments.
Nicholas put the star on the tree, and did the traditional crawling-around-under-the-branches stint to make our 1960’s tinsel star light up.
He’d like to point out that he thinks his hairstyle is very Dr. Who #10 right there.
We also baked a traditional Canadian treat called Butter Tarts, just because we had a boxed mix and wanted to try it. (Good enough.) And ate dinner. And watched two episodes of Torchwood. Plus I knitted on his secret gift and he did some work.
And we talked. There were sad family memories mixed in with chasing the cats away from the oh-so-tasty ornaments; and there was the odd fun-but-scary feeling of having to come up with Something Wonderful To Do on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. (What if we FAIL at Christmas? Oh NOooooooooo!!)
Soo…you know how it feels when you are really, really hungry for cake, and you decide to bake a cake…and you mix it up and put it in the oven…and then you have to wait. Once you close that oven door, your work is done, there’s nothing you can do to hurry things along. No matter how hungry you are for that delicious cake, You Just Have To Wait. There’s the fun of planning the frosting, the happiness of imagining sharing the cake with family and friends, perhaps, and the pleasure of knowing you’ve baked something wonderful. But…you’re waiting. And waiting is hard.
Nicholas and I are waiting for the cake to bake.
Aaannd the gingerbread house isn’t done yet. To be continued…
Today’s Random Good
Scientific information from the biologists at the Alaska Department of Fish & Wildlife about Santa’s Reindeer (R.t. saintnicolas magicalus), including population, home range, food, and subspecies differentiation.
Oh, and Bonus Good: Do you know the story of how Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer came to be?