I want to invite you to joy. To joy on the rock of the island I live on. To joy in life. I want to invite you to turn away from politics, from the angry pouting faces, the accusatory fingers, from countries unraveling, from fear mongering and corruption charges. From the sound and fury of the media. Now, in these moments come with me to my island, to some moments of pure wonder and joy. And I have as well a special invitation to my island this September that some of you will not be able to refuse---I hope.
What do you believe about the human race? Are we good, bad, ugly, mean, funny, beautiful, selfish, courageous, crazy, noble? Surely we contain all of this. But I want to show you who and what I see here on my island. When I shut down my computer, when I look around me, I see crazy-wonderful people like this:
When the Harvester Island Wilderness Workshop begins we don't know one another. We are a company of strangers who must learn one another's names. We do know that we are here in this spectacular place together, where we see God anew in every creature, rock and cloud. And so we are not strangers for long.
And if we are not happy enough at this, someone among us will always start a riot of joy.
Yes, I love these people. These are extraordinary people, but I know there are people like this everywhere. They came from "everywhere"-----and they are around you as well. Sometimes they don't know they are extraordinary. Sometimes they have no idea how beautiful and brilliant they actually are. And they won't know unless we tell them. They won't know unless we show them.
I want to remind you of this, that every person we live with and meet is worthy. Is worthy of our love, our attention. I want to remind you, as I remind myself, that the world is filled with amazing women and men and children who love one another, who are kind, who clean up others' messes, who forgive what can't be forgiven, who bring light everywhere they go, even in the rain. We don't see these people very often on TV or in the newspaper. But there they are . . .
There you are.
Yes, I know theology. I know about original sin. I know about the selfishness in my own decaying heart, I know the violence people do to one another. I know about the solitary islands we wreck ourselves upon, those islands of hate rather than islands of Grace, where we choose our own misery rather than risking injury, where we lash out in hurt rather than reach out in joy.
We were not made for any of this. We were made to live on an island of angels. We were made for Joy on the rock. We are not born into this place----we fashion it out of hard, tough, beautiful love, the love of Christ given for us, given through us.
Maybe you can join us this September. I'm offering something really special, hoping you can come. (Details below.) But know that wherever you are, you can bring joy to whatever rock, whatever island you live upon. I know it's hard when you feel alone. But you are not alone. We are with you, your brothers and sisters in Christ. Call us. Write us. Let us help you, just as we need help from you. No one can do this alone.
As I finish writing this, my heart is lifted. Just seeing these faces, remembering what is possible when we come together, choosing to love one another . . . This is the REAL world.
Make your world real, too.
*I have a few spaces left in the Harvester Island Wilderness Workshop with Luci Shaw, Jeanne Murray Walker and myself this September 3 - 10. How INCREDIBLE to be in the company of these two women, both of them literary legends. I'd like to fill those last few spaces asap so our number is set and complete! The usual cost for 7 nights, 8 days at my fish camp island including excellent meals, beautiful rooms, wilderness excursions and expert instruction is $2400. (The average cost of lodges in bush Alaska is $1000/day). I'm letting the last spaces go for just $1500. You don't have to have a manuscript to come, but we will be in morning classes writing and exploring all aspects of Art and Faith. I would love for you to participate in that! More here. http://www.leslieleylandfields.com/harvester-island-wilderness-workshop/
Feel free to write me here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Also, there is a very low cost way to get to Alaska. Ask me about that as well.)
Joy to you this God-made day!