Joyful Hermit reflects upon a time period in which the last of the children had left home. A time of challenge followed. The hermit vocation was fairly early in its development, and Joyful was not so joyful in the perceived loneliness and void of concrete direction. What does God will–not just a life striving to be holy which is the call for all of us–but what does He want me to do?
There had been plenty of negatives in Joyful’s life. And at that time the emptiness of the house and seeming losses, the physical pain and questioning the vocation, created even more negativity. Who dishes the negativity, and who agrees to eat it, and what happens if we digest it? Too bad we don’t ask ourselves those questions when in darkness.
A concerned adult daughter invited me to visit where she and her husband were stationed at the Defense Language Institute. Plucked out of the dead of winter into sunshine of the Pacific coast, Joyful was taught a lesson that is worth repeating…over and over again.
The first morning I was dropped off by choice at the Cathedral y Carlos Borromeo to there spend the day in prayer, in short walks about downtown Monterey, and fully open to whatever adventures the Lord might bring. Soon darkness of spirit opened to this reality:
Life is good. The world is beautiful. People are loving. The words opened the heart, mind and spirit. Soon Joyful was repeating the refrain as a refreshing chant. Life is good. The world is beautiful. People are loving! Life is good. The world is beautiful. People are loving! Life is good! The world is beautiful! People are loving!
Joyful Hermit was repeating the soul-altering message when picked up at the end of my daughter’s and her husband’s day on base. The truth of these words grew daily during the stay. Joyful met fascinating people, loving people, good and beautiful people in a beautiful place in a beautiful world. Yes, life is good!
Of course, the chant is entangled, distracted, disrupted and buried from time to time, over and over, in the ensuing years. But whose fault is that? The refrain is easy enough to resurrect and repeat with days, months, and years of experience in the heart-felt (and sometimes humorous) chanting.
The Lord understands that sometimes one must rouse the beleaguered body, mind and spirit with whatever means, such as words that come to deep within from without some where far from our here and now. Yet the words and their meaning arrive, all the same; and if we ask for a battle cry to help us learn the simple truths of how good is life no matter what obstacles, we will be given the words, the chant.
No one else is going to do it for us, as is said. If we want a good life and to live in a beautiful world, with people who are loving, we must see life as good, the world as beautiful, and people as loving. We must cooperate with God in what He created and still creates each moment we breathe. We must help make the world beautiful and be one of the loving people who can help make life good for ourselves and others.
Life is good, the world is beautiful, and people are loving.