My five year-old son loves to run. Not just in a playful kind of run that little kids engage in, but in a divinely inspired kind of run that shows that he loves to run. He tires out well conditioned nannies and caregivers (including me), can outrun and outlast kids almost twice his age, and he just never seems to fatigue. He smiles all the while. He’s half legs, half goofy grin.
The other night, he was running down a hotel hallway towards the elevator. Me, my wife and our three year-old tried to keep up. When we did, my wife turned to the now panting eldest and said “Y, I think when you run, you are closest to God,” and gave him a peck on the top of his head. And while at the time I didn’t think much of that comment, it was only today, slowly, that it started to seep into my soul – those powerful words playing in the shadows of my mind. It has really resounded in me.
When I think of my son running, I feel the true happiness it gives him. It’s like his spirit does soar, even if for a moment of two. I see that same soaring of spirit in my youngest when he discovers something again, but reacts as if it’s his first time seeing or experiencing it. When he wrinkles his nose and bursts out with that great belly laugh of his, I feel that he is closest to God at that moment. It’s like there is a brief, undisturbed, uncontrolled, unwavering, profound glimpse into something that we are only privy to in sacred moments. That something produces a light within us that can only exude out towards others, they catching it like a ripple in a pond, brushing up against us all without us knowing exactly what it is that has touched us. But we know that we have been touched. That something is what I call Peeking Through Joy’s Window.
I spent part of the day yesterday looking at others – people at work, on the streets, in cars – and wondering what is it that they do that allows them to Peek into Joy’s Window. What is it underneath the uniforms, masks and facades of modern living that sends them to furtively glance through The Window. Do they even know that they are Peeking? When I spy an old man navigating through a crowd with his walker, I often picture him as a young man, slapping his friends on the back, tugging at his girlfriend’s sleeve, sneaking a kiss, playing at something that brings him close to something he only approaches when his mind and spirit are in alignment with the Creator’s. What am I seeking when I look at that old man? Do I seek that very thing in myself?
When I was a young boy, there were things that I think had me Peeking Through Joy’s Window. I can’t really be sure, it’s been such a long time. I used to read a lot, used to listen to music, I played games, I was active in sports, did karate like my uncle did. I loved homework and doing well in school. I enjoyed hanging out with adults and tried to act grown up and tried to mature faster. Why I was in a race to leapfrog over my childhood I don’t know. But there were good times. I had just blotted them out in my drinking – a natural consequence of trying to forget my past and present and to destroy my future. Alcohol was like a huge magnet wiping out the remaining fading memories of my younger days.
I used to think that alcohol could bring me to a place of contentment, of bliss, of rapture. I could drink and actually feel what it was like to feel. I felt what it was like to be happy for once, to pick up the loving vibes from the room, to be lighter and stretched properly into my own skin. I truly felt that I was Peeking Through Joy’s Window. But it was a facade. That Window I thought I was facing was only a picture of a Window – one dimensional and quick to disappoint. Drinking brought me to the general vicinity of gladness and elation, but like a wisp of smoke, impossible to capture and easy to dissipate in the wind. Like me.
These days, I am not quite sure what brings me to the Window. I might be Peeking without even knowing it. Perhaps it’s just being in recovery that does it for me. Perhaps it’s in seeing how others do it. Maybe it’s in working with others and availing myself to other alcoholics. I don’t have hobbies per se, I don’t have many interests…what you see is what you get. I couldn’t say that about myself in the drinking days. My duplicity ran deep, as did my resentments. What brings me utter joy is something that I am still discovering. Perhaps it isn’t a thing I do, like gardening or hula hooping or skydiving, but a state. I don’t live in joy every moment of my life, but I live in gratitude for most of it. Perhaps that is my Peeking. Perhaps there is something I have still yet to be given guidance to come upon. I don’t know. And I am OK in that not knowing right now. I am content to continue watching others Peek Through Joy’s Window and see their total abandonment of self to pure joy and utter completion for that briefest of moments. I am content to watch my sons run and chance upon life and laugh and watch my wife coddle them and fuss over the dog…her joy.
More will be revealed.