On cherishing joy


TaylorJo is gleeful at the zoo in Santa Barbara, California. She was two years old.

Children often start out happy. It is what they prefer. They are often persuaded to replace that happiness with a bitter desire for revenge against someone. We saw the results in Paris and in the attack on a college in Kenya.

The barbarians who committed these atrocities are not going to change their ways. What we must aspire to do is to stop creating barbarians.

Cruel people do not always use guns and bombs. I have close friends whose lives have been devastated by cruel business practices, One devastating attack was the work of our federal government. The barbarians in those environments did not bat an eye.

I met with a friend recently and her son. He has become sullen and sarcastic as the result of atrocious behavior by men in his life.

How do we create the transition from joy to hostility and anger? There are a thousand ways.

This is me, back when being real came naturally.

This is me, back when I thought life was simple.

The point I would like to make is that we must become stewards of joy. We must nurture joy wherever we find it.

It is obvious in children. It often occurs in musicians and other artists. Yvette and I often attend performances of Black Cherry Burlesque because they are presented with joy, and they elicit joy from us. Joy is where we find it.

Terry Fator is an extraordinary puppeteer. We love his work. We watched the dazzling video of Jacob Tolliver playing A Whole Lot of Shaking Going On—in a hardware store—with a tremendous amount of delight. He does Great Balls O’ Fire, and other classics too.

I have watched the world for several decades now. I am convinced that the only way to save it from self-destruction is to make an unprecedented commitment to joy. The planet can wipe us out through climate change, earthquakes, and violent weather. We ought not add our man-made atrocities. We become stewards of joy, or I believe the consequences will become even more severe.




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