“The cells of the heart which nature built for joy die through disuse. That small place in the breast which is faith’s cramped quarters remains untenanted for years and decays.” Alexander Solzhenitsyn on maintaining joy in life.
I’m reading the classics these days. When I came across this quote from Solzhenitsyn’s Cancer Ward I realized it spoke perfectly to my situation. Until recently, I’ve been dying bit by bit, inexorably trudging through each day, trapped in a job I disliked and staying there for all the wrong reasons. Those of you who have been following my blog know that I recently threw caution to the wind and retired to Sarasota, regardless of the fact that my house in North Carolina has not yet sold. It was a leap of faith – faith that the Universe would bring me what I needed.
I must have been joyful as a child, although I don’t remember ever feeling that way. Certainly, as an adult I have rarely been joyful. Somehow I grew serious and stayed that way. Perhaps that’s because I never had a job about which I was passionate. All of my jobs were a means to an end – a way to earn a living. But no more. I step lightly these days on this path to joy and I find more and more things that sustain me.Last night, for example, Rosemary Court Wellness Center hosted a concert by the Blue Muse Trio. Consisting of a cellist, a percussionist specializing in the frame drum, and a vocalist who doubled as a flautist, the trio performed selections from the Cantigas de Santa Maria, a library of Spanish and Portuguese devotional music from the 13th century (listen to an example of their incredible music here). I have never heard live cello music, so last night was a real treat.
From the front row I watched cellist Tom Kersey perform, awestruck by the sound of the cello. I swear he went somewhere else when he played. He was surrounded by that beautiful purple light I have been seeing lately and there is no doubt in my mind that he was channeling from a higher source. What an incredible talent he is. They are playing at a local club next Friday evening and I plan to go hear them again.
Today was different, yet the same, in that it brought me joy. It was Sarasota Art Day and all the streets of downtown were closed to traffic and lined with booths, kiosks, and stages. Even the homeless, who often inhabit the downtown park benches, got into the act. One entrepreneurial homeless man did a pencil sketch of Jesus and leaned the drawing against the curb in hopes of a sale. Music was everywhere. One performance in particular made me think of my Dad – he would have really enjoyed the big band that performed on the main stage. I wandered around for hours, enjoying the music and snapping photos – one of my favorite things to do. As the afternoon wound down I picked one of the many restaurants in downtown that have little tables set out on the sidewalk, ordered coffee and an appetizer, and delved back into Solzhenitsyn.
At one point I looked up from my book to see that the clouds had just turned a lovely shade of pinkish orange, reflecting the setting sun from Sarasota Bay. Quickly I grabbed my camera and snapped the shot, looking straight up from my spot on the sidewalk. Another 20 seconds and it would have been gone. Why did I look up at that instant? I’d like to think it’s because I’m in tune with the Universe and living in the moment. That small place in my breast that houses faith is expanding each day and I am so grateful.