In my last entry, I tell a friend he has much passion but little joy, and ask what is tearing at his soul.
But what IS joy? I believe it to be far deeper than happiness or pleasure: it is the stillness of the deep ocean whilst the surface tosses and turns during a storm; joy is an undercurrent to the changing emotions of our lives. You can love life beneath anger or the intense pain of loss.
It shows in all sorts of ways: taking pleasure in ordinary things, such as a Krispy Kreme doughnut or the feel of cotton against your skin; anticipating new experiences; living every moment fully; finding a gift in a less-than-optimal situation.
It was the latter - and perhaps a touch of the first - that brought that undercurrent to the surface for me today. Rachel and I went to the cricket, meeting Mazz & Mark and their friends Greg & Mel. The start was delayed by rain, we had an hour of promising cricket, then rain fell again as lunch approached.
Rach and I went off to grab some burgers, and as we were heading back to our seats, we passed Mazz and crew on their way out to a pub to catch the rugby whilst the cricket was rained off. We went back to our seats and munched on our burgers under my big white brolly (mentioned on TMS), then sat back to wait for the rain to end.
It was futile - play was called off three hours later.
But Rach and I didn't stop laughing. Whether we were listening to TMS or the "Shane Warne song" (I do not lie), chatting with the stewards (who wondered why we were so amused), answering, 'So what is X like as a shag?', or checking out the SA players on their balcony with betfair binoculars, we didn't stop giggling.
That turned to outright guffawing as we played 'Marry/shag/push off a cliff (lethal or non-lethal)' with sets of cricketers. For those of you that don't know the game, you're presented with a trio of men/women and asked whom you would marry, have great, uncommitted sex with (read: like a man) or push off a cliff. You are not allowed to duck the question and say, "Shag all three of them, of course!"
For example: David Tennant, Daniel Craig, Jonathan Frakes.
I would: Marry David Tennant, shag Daniel Craig, push Jonathan Frakes off a cliff (sorry, Riker - nah, not really).
Sad it may be, but we got hours of amusement out of it. The best answer came with this trio:
Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood, Geraint Jones.
No-brainer for both of us: Marry Colly and push Geraint off a cliff (lethal. Sorry, dude, you've dropped way too many catches to be spared).
Which left one choice for Ian Bell. We looked at eachother under the white brolly, hesitant to commit ourselves. Then Rach had a stroke of genius:
"And have a headache when the time comes to shag Ian." We roared with laughter...
...and sheer, unadulterated joy in eachother's company. At one point, I looked over at her as she whizzed through songs on her ipod, thinking how blessed I was to count her as a friend for her genuine kindness beneath her cynicism, her humour, her support, her wackiness. She absolutely rocks, and is more like a sister than a friend.
At that moment, sitting at the soggy Oval with rain pounding on the white brolly, fully present in the moment, I finally understood where joy was to be found. Not in earthquake, wind or fire -
but in the still, small voice of our everyday lives - even when your ass is wet.