Sit. Feast on your life. That’s from a beautiful poem by Derek Walcott that we used as the quote for celebration. I realize that it’s hard for me to celebrate, to rest and rejoice in what is good. It feels like hubris–that God will smote those who dare to bask in their good fortune. But that’s what we need to dare to do as human beings: dare to celebrate the good, and dare to grieve the sad.
Yesterday we dared. Our dear friend Peter Heppner turned 46, so a bunch of us gathered to ski, ride the Carousel of Happinessin Nederland, and feast on chai, samosas, and Indian food at the Kathmandu restaurant. As I rode the carousel with my children, and watched all the shiny, lit up faces spin around me, it struck me that it’s almost physically impossible to be sad while riding a carousel. The movement alone makes the heart lighter. And kids hold nothing back when asked to celebrate. They hold nothing of themselves in reserve, need no protection from what the future may wreak. Maybe that’s the secret of celebration–and happiness. Forget any ideas of future.
T.S. Eliot warns of dilly dallying with our joy in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock:
And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—
(They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”)
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.
Feast now, and wonder later, this poem tells me. Dare to eat the samosa, despite the weight.
I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
Yesterday, on that carousel, I heard those mermaids. You can see it in these children’s faces:
What have you feasted on lately, and how?