A while back, I noticed the phenomena of people often saying “Sorry!” if they begin to cry in front of others. Why? Why do we apologize for grief, a natural response to the loss inevitable in the human incarnation, to the distressing daily news and to the unfathomable ways we treat each other? Why ask to be excused from a mere choke in our voice when talking about what matters? Why not just let the tears gush forward and ride the rapids in the embrace of a fellow listener? After all, they’ve suffered too and would be happy to have the same invitation to express sorrow without asking to be forgiven for showing emotion.
Lately, I’m noticing a similar tendency in myself having written about the wholehearted joy of my last few days. And yet another day today worthy of being gift wrapped and remembered as I taught some 30 Bangkok music teachers, many of whom I know from previous courses I've taught, many completely new, but eyes widening at the peek inside the house of music via the Orff approach. They’re tasting the delights at the banquet table and then observing me sharing the meal with 20 eight-year olds who just had me smiling from bottom to top for the too-short 50 minutes we were together.
Looking back at the titles of my last four posts— “Enough/ Glorious/ Tropical Splendor/ Small Miracles”— I had the weird sensation of doubting whether I should publicly share my joy like this. Would the readers be annoyed, would I appear to be boasting, do people really care about hearing about other’s happiness? Knowing how much more people relate to our admissions of frailty, of vulnerability, of bad luck, of feeling betrayed or unjustly accused or wronged, should I apologize for noting this brief window of unabashed gladness in getting to keep doing what I love so much?
Perhaps yes if it comes across at gloating. But knowing that I’ve paid many dues down in the swamp of human misery and more awaits me, why not simply appreciate the gifted glory of the moment? And share with others? I would hope that readers would feel more uplifted than annoyed, more encouraged to remember their own tiny delights, more content to know that it is possible to do what one was put on earth to do, with both proper humility and firm ownership of one’s joy. A gentle reminder that love is possible, that children can radiant their lovely selves yet brighter when an adult notices them and gives them worthy work and praises them for their efforts and their genius, that a single gust of a cool afternoon breeze after a day well spent is enough to shout “Hallelujah! We are here and we are splendid.”
No apology needed.