Surprised by Joy


True confession: I’d secretly hoped that the earnest, good-hearted, energy-saving, Prius-driving efforts by environmentalists all over this planet were actually having a global impact. Nope.

So what are you, what am I, what are we to do re this grim news?

Here’s what’s keeping me going*: Two weeks after the Marathon bombings and still feeling it, when walking through Harvard’s campus during an arts festival, I passed a crowd of people standing outside the Busch-Reisinger Museum. An organ concert, maybe? I wondered, joining the crowd just as it surged forward. “You’re last,” an usher whispered, closing the door behind me. “We have one more seat.”

Weary and heartsick, I took that last seat and, like many others in that austere, lapideous hall, tuned my seat around to face the organ loft. Immediately I was overpowered and entranced; organ music does that, doesn’t it. Talk about “wall of sound”!

Overpowered—and filled with surprising, out-of-nowhere joy at the sometimes-magnificence of  our species.

As Joanna Macy reminds us: “We can wake up to who we really are.” (Emphasis added)



* Instead of staring vacantly into space for minutes at a time when I first heard this awful news.








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