“You can sit there and be where joy goes to die or you can come get some.” Aubrey to Carter on the TV show “American Crime”.
On the TV show “American Crime”, the character Aubrey pawns her body and her life for an addict’s used juke box existence, where all the current top hits are missing and the old ones are muffled by the life she chooses to poison her body with. The irony of her words is not lost as viewers see her actions quickly paving the road to a joyless world of her own making. When her character said that line, I immediately thought that although tragedy and crippling physical and emotional pain do barge right in uninvited, we are also given a choice each day to open one of two doors; the door to joy’s death or the one that says “fling this one wide open and get some joy”.
For a few years I’ve collected and copied inspirational quotes in a journal to be read by the young woman our granddaughter will all too soon become. She’ll turn a precocious 8 this year but at times it seems like there’s a 1 already in the tens place and she is amazingly wise for her years. She’s already attempted to convince us she can drive, assuring us that if anything ever happened to create an emergency situation while we’re driving, she (of course!) possesses the leg length and necessary skills to take control and pull us through. Her many facets include that of a fierce little athletic competitor, a bleeding heart animal lover and an unabashed comedian who seems to attract stardust and repel dull moments as if they were the like poles of 2 magnets.
Her Papa Butch is the resident curator of a massive photography collection documenting each of her trips around the sun. In true Papa style, said collection is already organized and categorized into files such as “to be shown at her wedding rehearsal dinner” and “Dr. Em, Animal Medicine Woman”. I (known to others near and far as her Mimi) attempt to curate multiple scrapbooks and bookshelves of meaningful words, which for me (and hopefully her and my 2 beautiful grandsons) paint a picture of a life not just well read, but well led.
From the moment she began to babble she’s petitioned everyone in earshot to “Come on!” Dance, sing, play, laugh, imagine and create! Beckoning us to take off our stiff collars and sensible shoes, she wants us to get down on the floor, grass or sand and get dirty, playing till every last drop of joy has been eeked from the day. Unless you’re at death’s door, she expects you to follow her lead and be where joy comes to flourish, not die. She will not stand by idly and watch you build a monument to misery. In fact she’ll tear that shit down like a Lego tower or like the canines and felines she so deeply loves, kick dirt over it and move on.
As her Papa and I watch, granddaughter Emma fertilizes every row she begins to hoe with the kind of nourishment found on tap in a joyful life. If our life keg is spurting only air, we don’t even have to ask before she intervenes and gives the thumbs up sign, reminding us that a new keg was just hooked up and the velvet rope we convinced ourselves existed was always just a mirage and never actually condoned us off from our homeland called “Joy”.
Peace and Love