“Let the beauty of what we love be what we do.” — Rumi
I have a necklace that has this Rumi quote on it. This is what I endeavor to do with my life every day. It isn’t always easy to stay focused and to be in that zone of creativity/beauty/joy, but I do make that my goal.
“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” — Rumi
Doing things from your soul. Yes, it takes energy and some days you just would rather be a slacker and stay home in bed. But once you put yourself out there and get moving, you realize that who you are and what you do matters greatly to those around you. I have been experiencing and living in this river of joy this week. The college students in the choirs I accompany surprised me at our last concert with bouquets of flowers and much pomp and circumstance. (There was a throne, a crown, a dozen red roses, a bouquet of flowers, a box of tissues, and alumni returning to sing with the choirs not one but TWO songs sung in my honor!!) I was overwhelmed by their generosity and by the things they said and did to express their love and appreciation. They gave me a scrapbook full of letters. Some were beautifully illustrated and amazingly creative and others were written on plain paper with a pencil. ALL of them touched me deeply. They all in their individual styles shared stories, memories, gratitude, appreciation and wishes for a bright future for me. I was and am overwhelmed. Did I already say that? Well, I was. I am. What a wonderful thing to be told that I have made a difference to and had a positive impact on so many of these young lives! I will never forget what they did for me. Their words and actions will stay with me in my heart forever right with the memories of all the joy and music we’ve shared over the years.
“I have found the joy no tongue can tell,
How its waves of glory roll;
It is like a great o’erflowing well,
Springing up within my soul.
There is Joy unspeakable and full of glory!
Oh, the half has never yet been told!”
— Barney Warren (hymn written in 1900)
These quotes about being quiet to listen for blessings dropping and about choosing joy are ones that I also find inspiring. My mom and I were just talking about this today. I said, “Some people are just determined to be unhappy.” True! It takes a certain core of fortitude to seek out and choose to recognize (and then embrace!) the joy. It is always there. Sometimes it is deeply buried and we feel the darkness settling in. Living through those times takes endurance, family, faith, friends — most of all it takes LOVE.
“We can not cure the world of sorrows but we can choose to live in joy.” — Joseph Campbell
“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” — Henri J.M. Nouwen
“Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” — Ps. 30:5 New Living Translation
“Yahweh, your God, is in the midst of you, a mighty one who will save. He will rejoice over you with joy. He will calm you in his love. He will rejoice over you with singing.” — Zephaniah 3:17 WEB (World English Bible)
A dear friend of mine sent me this scripture from Zephaniah recently when we were needing to make the decision about taking the new job and moving to another city. I really like the imagery of being calmed with LOVE and that an eternal being (God) would rejoice over me with singing.
Another friend reminded me of this Dr. Seuss wisdom:
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
— Dr. Seuss
I have shed many, many tears this week:
Many, many tears of Joy —
A few tears of sorrow.
I also smiled. I smiled a LOT.
I am sad that it is over.
But I am VERY, very, very glad it happened.