When Greer was younger, whenever there was an occasion for unwrapping a present (birthday, Christmas), she would reverently pull apart the paper, open the gift and exclaim, “Just what I’ve always wanted!” Utter delight. Joy.
Joy is an orientation, a disposition of awe and wonder
But if there are things that bother us – whether an injustice done to you, or injustices you notice around you, or both – if we are bothered, hurt, confused… it is difficult to look at the world with this disposition, with a sense of awe and wonder.
“Peace,” Sabrina Orah Mark once wrote in a story about daughters, “is what pain looks like in public.”
We all carry around some measure of pain on a relatively regular basis. In our relationships, in our hips, in our dealing with health insurance…
But I would posit it’s more that joy is what pain looks like in public, because peace is more the effect, whereas joy is a choice, and a practice.
Greer was so good at – and still is – deciding just because it is a gift just for her, no matter what it was, she would exclaim, “it’s just what I always wanted!”