Sisters in Scripture
Vicarious Joy
11/18/2020 Kathleen MacInnis Kichline

Vicarious joy can be surprisingly satisfying! My friend had just shared that she would get to see a co-worker's newborn daughter today. Enough time and mutual isolation had passed that it was deemed safe. She was looking forward to it--not surprising. But what did surprise me is how excited I was for her! I fairly skipped when she told me. What a wonderful thing to have happen in her day! What a wonderful thing to have happen at all!

Vicarious Joy!--the very real phenomenon that is, I suspect, a consequence of the isolation we have known during Covid-19. These days, someone else's good news goes way beyond, "I'm happy for you." Someone else's small pleasures are occasion for our own celebration.

This summer my teen/young adult grandchildren bought a jaunty little jeep ice cream truck and spent a Covid-safe summer delivering frozen fun to the neighborhood. Not only were the children made happy but most everyone who heard the story delighted with them!

Just last week a friend told me of being at a park and watching the children at play. A five-year-old girl was struggling to master the monkey bars with her mother's hands at the ready to catch her if she slipped. He watched as she swung back and forth and then pitched her tiny frame forward, reached out, and grabbed the bar ahead. She did this repeatedly, brow wrinkled in concentration, pink tongue pressed between her lips. Each attempt required more exertion than the one before, but each catch of the bar became more steady with practice. When she finally achieved that final bar, my friend leapt to his feet and applauded. His delight was nearly as great as that of the parent and child.

It was the kind of thing that normally he'd have smiled at and enjoyed, but this time, he was all in! Her victory was somehow his as well. He did not even feel sheepish in his exuberant display. He walked home with a smile on his face and a spring in his step.

You know how being hungry makes food taste so good? Some of it is that. But the vicarious nature of this joy has less to do with being without things and more to do with being connected. Apparently, there's nothing like a global pandemic to make us realize we are all in this thing called life together!
Let me know your own joy story
I'd love to hear your stories of Vicarious Joy! At the end of your day when you've recounted those things for which you give thanks, how much of it, how many times, have been a share of someone else's happiness?

What better way to prepare for Thanksgiving than to consider the way the blessings of others, large and small, have become our blessings as well. I promise you such ponderings will uplift and put you in the mood for the holidays. They speak not only of life's generosity, but they also expand our capacity for empathy and knit us to one anther. (I think that makes God smile).

Drop me a line at Vicarious Joy with your own experience. Some things are just too good to keep to ourselves! If I hear from enough folks, I'll add them to the next newsletter.
Speaking of vicarious joy, I am happy to share with you the new online theological journal, OF ONE ACCORD. This is the end-product of the Covid-cancelled Assisi Colloquy and I am one of the contributors. My small contribution is a piece on The Poetry of Teresa of Avila. The journal is beautifully done. Some of its articles represent serious scholarship, somewhat beyond my own ken, but this is the kind of important work that lays the groundwork for foundational change in the thinking of the Church--something to be celebrated. You can access it at: OF ONE ACCORD

Once Upon a Time in a Town Called Nazareth
It has been my great joy over many years to partner with Betsey Beckman in leading this Advent Retreat.
This year we will be presenting it online at the invitation of St. Placid Priory, Lacey, WA. Which means...ALL can come, no matter where you live!!

To register or get more information go to: The Priory

To get a sense of the rhythm of this Friday night / Saturday schedule, and to see more pictures, visit our Advent Page.

An Online Advent Retreat

Date and Time Details
December 11 - 12
Friday, 5:00-7:00 PM, PST*
6-8 MST, 7-9 CST, 8-10 EST
Saturday, 9:00am - Noon PST*
10-1 MST, 11-2 CST, 12-3 EST
1:00 - 3:00pm PST*
2-4 MST, 3-5 CST, 4-6 EST

 ~ $75.00 Partial Scholarships Available

If you are a huge Betsey Beckman fan like me, you will want to check out her latest collaboration with Christine Valters Paintner and others at Abbey of the Arts. Together they have created an Earth Monastery Prayer Cycle offering 7 days of morning and evening prayer that focus on our spiritual connection with the earth. Betsey offers movement and gesture for the prayers in beautifully filmed locations in both Scotland and the Pacific Northwest. Additionally, the prayers offer contemporary interpretations of the psalms, spiritual insights from saints and others, original poetry and music. To access, go to: Morning and Evening Prayer

As always, I love to hear from you. Questions or comments: contact me.
Please feel free to browse through my website, Sisters in Scripture, to learn more about our ministry and other events and products we offer.

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