2006-12-22 / Columnists

Health & Harmony

The Healing Power of Joy
Commentary By Dr. Nancy Gahles

DR. Nancy gahles
DR. Nancy gahles Waiting in joyful hope. The theme of this season of festivals revolves around the concept of waiting and hoping. Waiting for the light to return on the winter solstice. Waiting for the miracle of enough light to sustain us while under siege. Waiting for the birth of the Light of the World to show us the way.

Joyful waiting and hope are kindred spirits, as a present day mystic, Sr. Macrina, has said. I pondered this thought for a long while. What exactly could I be waiting for with joy and hope? The feeling of joy eluded me. I had to dig deep to rekindle the sensation of joy. It is an exponent of happiness. Like to the “n-th” degree. When was the last time I felt joy? Sad to say, I only had glimpses of recall. Of course, since it “tis the season”, I could remember Christmas’ past. The joy of expectation, of waiting for that one particular present that you hoped Santa would bring. Had I been good enough? Did he REALLY see and KNOW what I was thinking? The JOYful hope rested in the prospect that I would be acknowledged and loved and rewarded with my heart’s delight, even if I had a few missteps during the year. Santa knew my heart was in the right place. So, I guess I had hope!

Hope is the expectation that everything will work out all right. Hope implies that we will be rewarded, recompensed, repaired, rekindled. Hope springs eternal. Hope is the fuel that propels us forward against adversity and despair. Hope is the light in the eyes of those who want to believe. Everyone wants to believe. That’s why there is a Santa. It is a symbol of something to believe in. A timeline for recognition of your hopes and dreams to be fulfilled. And if we don’t get everything we asked for, we search our hearts for ways to be a better person in the coming year. We know that Santa knew. Who were we kidding? We’ll strive to do better.

Hope means that we trust. Another precious commodity. Trust. Trust and faith. Oh, Lord, now you’re talking! That is quite a leap of consciousness. As I perused the sayings of the prophets of most major religions and brought to bear my own experiential database, I harkened back to something I heard said by the physicist Edward Teller that had rung true for me. “ When we walk to the edge of all the light we have and take the step into the darkness of the unknown, we must believe that one of two things will happen: there will be something solid for us to stand on, or we will be taught to fly”.

In this Season of Light, let us take stock of all the Light we have, let us use it rightly to kindle that flame in others, to enlighten ourselves, to lighten up, and to light the light of joy and hope in the hearts of all those kindred spirits on our path. And that’s why angels can fly, because they take themselves so lightly. That may be true of reindeers, too.

As Heather Wilson so aptly put it, “The edge of all the Light we have is the place where we encounter God.”

This is my season’s wish for you, that you wait in joyful hope for the coming of the Light. And that’s the fun and the mystery. It keeps unfolding as you live it. Now I do feel the joy! It’s in the living of every moment. The present moment. Our PRESENT. The gift for us all. EnJOY!

May The Blessings BE!

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Please allow me to add the Christian perspective:

Hebrews 6:18-20 (New International Version)

18 God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. 19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

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