Tuesday, November 04, 2003

A Tear of Joy

I was planning to replace my last entry with rewritten text, but something within my soul said, "No. Keep writing. Don't sensor." So here is the replacement text, but as a new entry.

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Sometimes when I look at my animals a tear forms in my heart and every so often it makes its way down my cheek. Not a tear of sorrow, but a tear of joy. Joy that my cats, my dogs and their humans (three species no less) live peaceable under the same roof...well most of the time.

Frederick Buechner talks about this "tear of joy" in his book The Longing for Home. He recounts an experience with his wife and daughter when they "caught a glimpse of the Peaceable Kingdom". The experience that elicited their tears was at Sea World (of all places). He describes it this way:

The way the show began was that at a given signal they released into the tank five or six killer whales... [They] went racing around and around in circles. What with the dazzle of sky and sun, the beautiful young people on the platform, the soft southern air, and the crowds all around us watching the performance with a delight matched only by what seemed the delight of the performing whales, it was as if the whole creation -- men and women and beasts and sun and water and earth and sky and, for all I know, God himself -- was caught up in one great, jubilant dance of unimaginable beauty.

For a few moments we had seen and been part of the great dance that goes on at the heart of creation. We shed tears because we were given a glimpse of the way life was created to be and is not. We had seen why it was that "the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy" when the world was first made. (Buechner 1996, 126-127).

I, too, have gazed upon this dance between human and killer whale, and quite unexpectedly my eyes filled with tears in the same way Buechner describes. At the time I didn't ponder the meaning, but drank the goodness of the moment. It was a glimpse of something delicate and beautiful, something good.

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