Fifty Days of Joy

Lent is over.  The great fifty days of Easter are here.  Anybody out there keep Easter disciplines?

I thought not.  It is much easier to design a plan of sacrifice and solemnity (even if we don't keep it that well) than to plan out fifty days of joy.  I'm talking planning and discipline here.... of course it's not too hard to be happy, to enjoy life, and most of us when we fudged on our Lenten disciplines were doing so to sneak in a levity, a little fun.  But trying to make a discipline of joy and peace is pretty hard.  It seems, even, to go against the grain.  Shouldn't joy be spontaneous?

It's worth a try, though.  As Christians, we are called to be the reflection of God's glory, to be joyful in the Lord.  This doesn't mean we abandon our seriousness about being the hands and feet of Christ in the world and turning our backs on suffering and injustice.  But we are to be Christ's hands and feet with joy, with a heart that both breaks for the pain of others and heals others through love that is based on the sure knowledge that we are loved and valued and made worthy by God.

Still, how does one do that as a discipline?

Practice building up the muscles, I think.  Which is what our Lenten disciplines are supposed to do as well.  Instead of giving up chocolate, taken on feeding others.  Write every day about something beautiful.  Plan once a week to visit a museum or botanical garden or see a play or movie - find things that feed you so that you will have something with which to feed others.  Play - play with your animals, your kids, your partner, your friends (real and virtual).

And then let the Holy Spirit work.

What will be your discipline?


Ray Barnes said…
Wonderfull idea Penny. I just wish I knew how.
One step at a time, Ray..... maybe use your blog to write about something beautiful every week?
Perpetua said…
What a lovely idea, Penny. I will now go and ponder this new type of discipline. Mine will probably include knitting somewhere in it :-)
You know, I enjoy knitting but almost never do it. Maybe I'll start a knitting discipline, too!
Perpetua said…
You could do worse, Penny :-) I find knitting socks particularly conducive to quiet meditation - all that simple going round and round calms the mind and helps me concentrate. I even wrote a blog post about it called The Joy of Socks
and took my knitting with me to a parish Quiet Day on Holy Saturday.

I got the idea from an anecdote in a book by the Orthodox bishop Metropolitan Anthony Bloom and for me it really works.
Sadly, I cannot knit anything as complicated as socks. I tried a shawl once and couldn't keep the pattern going. I'm pretty much limited to knit and purl, mostly knit, big long rectangles. But I find knitting conducive to meditation. Also I like shopping for yarn, imagining possibilities.
Ruth said…
For me it will be reading as I gave up reading fiction for Lent. Much as I enjoyed some great theology and art, I can't tell you the joy of getting my teeth into a good whodunnit yesterday. Yay!