shanti, shanti, shanti.
Peace to those who know no peace.
I try so hard to hang on to joy, but sometimes it seems to slip through my grasp; sometimes it hides under the bed, or dashes around the room like a mischievous sprite; sometimes I can’t even catch a glimpse of it and don’t even remember for sure what it looks like.
No description for the sketch artist; not even a shadow, or a single feature by which to identify it.
Just the memory of it, the taste and smell of its presence, the sense that it’s, it is, just, there.
There are pictures on the wall in front of my desk of my children at various ages, some photos more candid than others. In one Second Son stands on a rock on a rocky beach, hands on hips, “King of the Mountain” expression on his face. I remember this day — he chased his dad down the beach, First Son made those soggy-sand stalagimte-like castles, they ate peaches sitting on the floor of the back of the van, juice dripping down their chins. The water was mossy, it wasn’t really hot enough for the beach, SS didn’t like the rocks under his feet, First Husband was bored. This sends me down so many memory lanes of all the things I did wrong, all the ways I let people down, failed — them, myself.
But there was, at the same time, this little bit of joy. The sand-castle stalagmites were beautiful, and signified First Son’s artistry and patience. Second Son didn’t like the rocks or the sun, but was King of the Mountain nonetheless. They’re in their 20s now, and Only Daughter wasn’t around yet, and this day probably holds no memory for them at all.
But I just heard from a friend that a friend we made in Italy remembers us as well as we do him; that our appearance in his cafe, my playing the piano for his patrons one night before our dinner, our walk in the hills based on his map, scrawled in crayon on the back of a placemat, made an impression on him as strong as the impression it made on us.
It’s so hard to remember sometimes, so hard to find, to see; but there is, always, joy. Somewhere. Just there. You just have to believe it; and then you just got to find it.