April 29th was pouring rain on Cape Cod. And only 46 degrees. And every single person walking out that door had a huge grin on his or her face. A “moment of joy.” The door was the exit from Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Shop in Eastham. And as all ice cream aficionados know, that’s Free Cone Day at most Ben and Jerry’s around the country. Sometimes the line extended out the door, with hoods and umbrellas up. We saw teenagers with pink hair, workers with stained overalls, elderly folks with canes, a couple in a pickup truck sharing their cones with their black lab. We aren’t sure what brought us more joy – savoring our own “Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz”, or watching, through windshield wipers, all those smiles.
How is it, all these people were free at 2 pm on a Tuesday afternoon? The only reason we were free, and willing to drive 30 minutes each way, was that we were on vacation. In my “real” life, I would never have made time for this. Life is jammed full of “important” stuff. Work, food shopping, home repair, meal preparation, church committees, dog walking, vacuuming, eldercare. Oh yes, and time for my spouse! So, I ask again, how is it, these other folks had free time for a “moment of joy”?
Through Wellspring, I don’t so much learn new ideas, as much as move the ideas from intellectual realization to experiential. And this year, one of my aha moments came in our new session on the “Theology of Joy.” I saw how easily I let productivity kill the spiritual sustenance of “Joy Moments.” If I’m frantically trying to jam more into my day, or worrying about all I need to get to, I miss the “moments of joy” that arise every minute. There is a false underlying belief I carry, that life will be wonderful once I get it all done. It’s my lifelong struggle to move beyond this belief. In a book we are considering for our following on course, “Wellspring 2”, Philip Simmons writes in Learning to Fall, “in our desire always to be elsewhere than here, we can lose what measure of heaven may be ours on earth…the present is the unfinished house in which we dwell.” All those people who went to Ben & Jerry’s for a free cone on Tuesday reminded me to let go of needing to “finish the house” before I savor a rainy day scoop of ice cream.