I’m in. I want it and I want it real bad. I want a life stacked on joy. A life built on rejoicing. A life graced with gratitude.
As I grapple with what I know of this joy stacking equation, this unempty-moment-living, I’m struck by a recurring posture of both the head and the heart: bending.
There is the stacking, the adding up of joy and gifts. But there is also the bending.
The bending of heads in prayer. The bending down to notice. The bent posture of a humble heart.
You can’t have joy without humility. I think I really believe that.
Joy requires the humility to relinquish cynicism. The humility to seek prayer. The humility to seek help (I am learning this one oh-so-richly right now).
I recently rediscovered this audacious prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi that speaks to the paradox of this bend-your-heart-in-humility-and-you-will-be-lifted-up-with-joy. This paradox of our faith.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
In case you missed it the first time, “For it is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.”
It is in this humility, this bending low of ourselves and our priorities and our vindication, that we find God. It is in humility that we find ourselves gifted with the call to participate in the ministry of Jesus. It is in humility that we can sow love and heal nations and bring life.
It is in humility that we stack up joy.
And so today I give you the best new dance move in my spiritual repertoire: the bend and stack.
While I’m pretty sure it won’t win me back an ex-boyfriend, I am certain I want to cultivate the kind of heart bending that leads to joy stacking.