Last month I attended the RAC (Religious Action Center) conference, “Consultation on Conscience,” in Washington D.C. Although it would be hard to ignore the anger and frustration among the participants, especially in the immediate aftermath of newly restrictive abortion laws, the conference nourished strength and optimism as we listened together, prayed together, and sang together. This spirit of unity and hope was captured for me when Rabbi Hara Person said “joy is a form of resistance.” She urged us not to give up what brings us joy because of the urgency of the moment.

At dinner with friends that night we talked about our strategies for staying sane in an increasingly insane world of divisiveness and rancor, such as not watching any news after dinner so we can actually fall asleep. Throughout our lives we have fought for our beliefs. We have marched and volunteered, We are weary, but we are ready to be at the barricades again. And it would be easy, in the heat of this renewed battle, to forget what bring us joy.

So much in my life brings me joy. Watching my two grown daughters take their place in the world as smart, caring, beautiful women. Preparing and sharing a meal with a friend. Sharing laughter. Almost any walk or drive in the Berkshires where natural beauty abounds. A tree that appears to burst into blossom even though I have been eagerly watching the buds grow for weeks. Language that astonishes me. Music that penetrates my body.

The picture I took for this post is of Johnny Jump Ups, also know as heart’s ease or heart’s delight. They made me think of jumping for joy.

I remember after 9/11 telling my campus that if we became enmeshed in fear and anger than the terrorists had won. There will always be a new opponent in the fight for equality and justice. I am grateful to Rabbi Person for reminding me that joy is a form of resistance. .

Barbara ViniarComment