Saturday, April 29, 2017

Bursting Wide Open

Friday was the last day of "regular life" at our little office here in Keene. And so, we planned a big bash at Tami Condon's house that evening. We were celebrating several things: first of all, our workers who have kept life moving and interesting in the office; secondly, Clarissa who is moving on in her life to bigger and better things. Clarissa has been my office neighbor since I arrived last July. To say I will miss her would be a ridiculous understatement. We have laughed and chatted it up and whined and laughed some more. She is just a gem. But, she's only 24 years old and on the verge of so much greatness. She's marrying her love in October, starting her Master's in the fall, and just got a real job in her field of psychology. And so, we are sending her off on a great adventure and so excited to see where life takes her.

But gosh I'm selfish right now. I just want her to stay.

The party at Tami's was a raging success. Tami has a large, welcoming home and she opened her arms wide for all of us. It was a grand time. We had over 30 people there, a crazy amount of food, so much laughter, and stories in every corner. Kids were scattered around playing games both inside and out.

It was a good time.

Recently Jace and I were talking about life and emotions and coping -- all of that fun stuff. Jace made the comment that good times are rare and in between, that joy is hard to find.

Of course, his definition of joy is attending a professional basketball game, or hanging out at Six Flags with a couple of buddies. And those kinds of experiences just don't come around every day.

And maybe from a 14 year old perspective, that is joy. Maybe it is.

But of course, I countered his argument.

Joy is hanging on the porch and watching Sadie scale a tree.

Joy is gazing in awe as the sun paints the sky red during its descent.

Joy is a soulful conversation, unexpected kindness, Piper's enthusiasm when you walk through the door.

While I was at the party yesterday, Jace called. The first time I let it go to voicemail as I was busy, but he immediately followed it up with a text: MOM!!!

And so I called him back: what's up?

Raymond left his cat.

About a week ago, Jace's good buddy Raymond moved to Alaska. The night before he left, he called Jace: Do you want my cat?

No.

Well, we're leaving it then.

Jace told me about this conversation the next day, and I asked him -- do you think he'll actually leave it?

Jace didn't think there was a chance. But yesterday evening, he walked across the street to Raymond's house that now sits empty, and there, hanging on the back porch, was the cat, now skinny and desperate for attention after a little more than a week of neglect.

A bit later, I received a notification of a text on my phone, and a picture rose up that Jace sent. It showed two bowls side by side -- one with food, one with water.

"She doesn't want me to leave," Jace texted. "So I'm petting her. Can you make sure Animal Control picks her up tomorrow? I can't stand this."

Joy is...
...when the terms 'fellow employee' and 'friend' are synonyms
...when you've grown to love someone so much that goodbyes are painful
...when your child shows so much compassion that your heart swells up too big for your chest

And sometimes, Jace? Well, sometimes joy breaks our hearts, filling them up to the brim until they burst wide open.

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