by Emily Dietrich

IDing Joy

Sliding into my spot at the table, I see fancy paper, pens, ribbon and glue set out within my reach. At my place are two pieces of cardboard, cut to a size that puzzles me, and a third piece that seems the size of a bookmark.

My eyes fill with tears.

Although my friend, who is teaching the class, has begun to describe what these pieces will become, I’m in my head, confused and analytical. Why do I feel like crying? What is wrong with me? Why do I feel so full, emotional, grateful and sentimental?

It’s because I’m so needy, I think. I’m desperate to feel taken care of. I dismiss that as pathetic, sniffle a bit, discreetly wipe my eyes and tune in to the explanation.

I had a sense that my tears were part of something good, hard as I tried to belittle them, because the fullness I felt was warm and had energy, life. I figured I just felt good at that moment, and that I didn’t feel good so often, so it hit me dramatically.

A few months later, I went to a retreat called “Awakening Joy.” I talked to someone, and I described the feeling I had had.

“That’s joy!” she said.

She had already taken the class, you see, so I believed her.

I just felt joy again tonight, and it did feel a lot like I felt when I was sitting at that table, with the prospect of creativity before me. This time I was sitting in the back seat of our car, leaning toward my daughter, while my husband and son sat in the front, talking about a concert they had gone to together. I felt a full swelling and tears came to my eyes.

This time I knew what it was.

Author: Emily

Emily Dietrich is a poet, novelist, and mystery writer.

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