You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘joy/bliss’ tag.

“No, Liz, I’ve never heard a patient say that. Usually, they’re unconscious or subdued by drugs when that happens,” said the hospice nurse as she pulled a chair closer to mine in the study, filled with sunlight. I’d never shared this with anyone, and she seemed receptive, given her years of experience. Her round eyes reminded me of a toddler’s wonder tracking a Monarch butterfly by the seacoast.

“Indeed, I’m happy for you,” she said, still moved by my experience as she unzipped her bag and pulled from it what she would need. “Sounds like it wasn’t the first time. Tell me more.”

I nodded. “Last year I began noticing it at intervals—usually afternoons, during nap times. The whir of the concentrator for my oxygen gentled my eyes as they shut down.

“On the threshold of sleep, though, my body became something else: my arms immobile at my side, my legs slightly bent at my knees, my mind emptied of chatter. No sense data. No colors. Just bliss. Only rhythmic breathing in my chest evidenced life. As these episodes increased, the less time I had to wait for what I began calling, the sinking.”

“That’s fascinating,” she said after jotting information in her computer. “I’m always glad when asked to come by. I learn so much—Did anything else happen yesterday?”

“Yes, the sinking lasted over three hours, longer than ever before, and I found myself practicing going to heaven—I never did that before, but I’m still here.”

Still masked, I felt her smile as she blew me a hug and left.

From wintry darkness emerges the Old Testament prophet Zephaniah who concludes his short prophecy with a Psalm of Joy:

Yahweh your God is in your midst,

As a victorious warrior.

He will exult with joy over you,

He will renew you by his love;

He will dance with shouts of joy for you

As on a day of festival.

These consoling interventions of Yahweh God are addressed to the anawim or lowly, poverty-stricken Jews living in Judea under the reign of the corrupt King Josiah in the seventh century, BCE. These are the remnant who remained faithful to the law of Moses; they’ve not engaged in the worship of Baal, a pagan goddess of agriculture, nor any filthy practices of their neighbors.

What precedes this Psalm of Joy, however, are Zephaniah’s condemnation of the religious and moral corruption of his people and the dire destruction of Judea on the Day of Yahweh. Underscoring these shattering pronouncements is Zephaniah’s sense of sin as a moral offence against the living God: abomination of abominations.

In my perception, nothing has changed much—even the scraggly street preacher (that I once saw while stopped at a red light) and his words, “Jesus saves! Jesus saves! “careening from his hand-held microphone under a sweltering sun.

Yet, this Psalm of Joy is included in today’s readings for the Third Sunday of Advent celebrated in the Christian liturgy. There’s still time to learn …

The simplicity of this photo touches me: three pears, one attached to its leafy branch, one sitting on its bottom, and one sliced open, revealing its seeds and the creamy white of its fruit. Next to it lays the wood-handled knife on a plank table. A close look at the photo’s composition reveals its artistry and significance.

Featured within are four items, the number for wholeness, for balance that frames the viewer’s experience—a grounding that compels its evolution, accompanied by warm inner stirrings.

Next comes the selection of color: the yellows, dull and limish; the browns, dark and rustic; the greens, pointed and jaded; and the whites, luminous and milky. Subtle shadows set off the pears and spark desire to touch their coarse skins, to experience their sweetness.

Their stems resemble cut umbilical cords, its fruits, now on their own.  

Sharp angles contrast with roundness for added drama. The worn appearance of the knife and table suggest seasoned hands that know foods, their preparation, and presentation.

So much for my impressions of this photo.

It also speaks to my present circumstances. The first pear suggests my having been cut off from the tree of health; the second, my ripening; and the third, the cutting/transition and full revelation of my sweetness.

For the present, my ripening morphs into simplicity and I’m grateful…

Available on Amazon

%d bloggers like this: