Last night we had coffee with a friend that I have not seen since 1995. Joy is a sweetheart of a woman who in my mind was aptly named as she brings so much joy in her presence and in her life. We knew each other when we were student chaplains in a Clinical Pastoral Unit. Nearly 14 years ago we met each other in chaplaincy in St. John’s, NL and now she lives in Manitoba and I am here in Windsor. Turns out that Joy’s aunt is our dear friend Vi another chaplain and another great Newfoundlander. I was pleased to have the opportunity to visit with them both last night.
Seeing Joy again was a great reminder of hope. Henri Nouwen writes about the promise of the Holy Spirit and the idea of God-within-us. "God wants to be as close to us as our breath. God wants to breathe in us, so that all we say, think and do is completely inspired by God. God is God-within-us." That is sort of what Joy is like for me. She is a breath of fresh air. Part of what impressed me so long ago about Joy when I met her was her joyful approach to faith and her very gleeful acceptance of god in her life. Seeing her again was good for the soul. She is still full of joy and still such an inspiration. It comes as no surprise to me that she is related to Vi as she too is so filled with ‘joie de vivre.’ Joy is a great reminder fo me to hope in the midst of all things.
Fitting that yesterday was a feast day – Sunday. Lent has forty days subtracting the Sundays as each Sunday is a day of celebration of the Resurrection. I was blessed yesterday to be inspired and feed on so many levels. It felt like I was feasting on ‘good news.’ In the morning we were pleased to have The Honourable Howard Pawley speak at the 10:30 AM Mass. Having been Premier of Manitoba and having served as Social Justice Chair for the University of Windsor, he was a fitting speaker to kick off our 2009 Lenten Justice Series. It was surreal for me in a way. I grew up in a home where we paid attention to politics and to news. Meeting Mr. Pawley and having him speak at the church so many years after learning about him through school and the media was a great thrill really. It was good to hear a man who in retirement still cares so much about his community and the world. The people of God were fortunate to hear about the possibilities of who we might be and fortunate to be challenged to expect more from our leaders and more from ourselves. We finished our Sunday Morning with a great meal of Soup. Many thanks to the OJT for arranging this event and to Nancy Shulgan for arranging such a great soup luncheon.
In the morning I was reminded that not one of us in an island. We do not live merely unto ourselves. Our humanity is common and we need to be a part of responding to human want and hurt in our communities, our country and the world. I was reminded again last night that not one of us is an island. I may not have seen Joy for nearly 15 years but she has often been in my thoughts and in my prayers. The great sensei Mitsugi Saotome once said, "If you were all alone in the universe with no one to talk to, no one with which to share the beauty of the stars, to laugh with, to touch, what would be your purpose in life? It is other life, it is love, which gives your life meaning. This is harmony. We must discover the joy of each other, the joy of challenge, the joy of growth." Yesterday I was reminded that perhaps on my Lenten journey to try more to discover the joy of the other, of the challenge and in so understand the joy of growth.