the Empathy List #50: Happy Like Me
Grief and delight coexist.
Hey friend, Liz here.
Feral cats wander across my backyard here in my suburban neighborhood east of Denver, Colorado. One morning, I caught them swinging in our hammock, claws splayed and spitting—one had dropped from a tree into the cloth hammock and it set off at a swing. I couldn’t stop laughing.
Delight has been surprising me lately. For example: did you know Colorado has So. Much. Sunshine? It’s the best kept secret of the west. Yes, there are mountains and blizzards and drought and fire. But also, we have sit-on-the-porch-and-tan winter sun. When I first moved in 2009 to CO in January, I remember thinking, what is this wonderland???
I’m trying to be more observant to my delight. I have multiple “table topic” or “chat pack” games—stacks of cards full of weird and funny questions to ask the people you’ve known forever, so you can keep learning about each other.
Yesterday at dinner, my 9-year-old daughter pulled the card:
“What are five things (NOT PEOPLE) that are making you the most happy?”
Chronicling the things we love made us all so animated—my 6-year-old picked ninjas and Lego blocks. My 9-year-old picked characters from her top fave chapter books, a stuffed animal, and the body pillow that supports her as she reads.
And I was thinking of the good cup of Jubilee single-origin coffee I drink each morning; of my hardcover set of Harry Potter books; of the ping of my chef knife, freshly sharpened, as I chop potatoes for a meal; my swiss cheese plant; and sunshine.
My beloved objects do not have to be expensive or indispensable. Nor do these moments of joy in any way cheapen the wrenching experiences of grief we have felt over the past year.
Seeking to appreciate the ordinary joys of our lives can actually teach us more about our grief. (Aren’t emotions weird? This is why Inside Out is one of my faves.)
Certainly the tension between grief and joy is a paradox I cannot pretend to understand. Yet we see light through darkness—dark is actually what makes light visible to our eyes at all. Which seems to offer us some sort of hope.
Will you join me in chronicling your joys today?
QUESTION FOR YOU: What five objects make YOU the most happy?
Thanks for reading! Warmly, Liz Charlotte Grant
The story behind the helicopter crash that killed basketball superstar Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter last winter (January 26, 2020).
“Amid social media speculation and false reports, TMZ broke the news: “KOBE BRYANT, DAUGHTER GIGI DIE IN HELICOPTER CRASH …”
Vanity Fair | Read more…
This Sunday: it’s the coronavirus VS. Super Bowl LV. Who will take home the win?
(…So much for community chip bowl! 😷)
New York Times | Read more...
The wine that went to space.
Last week, SpaceX returned a case of wines, along with other experimental items such as live rats and clippings of grape vines, back to earth this past week after a year aging in microgravity on the Space Station.
Researchers will be studying the effects of its time abroad—leading to the most exclusive wine tasting of the year! (‘Cause how could you resist??)
The Take Out | Read more…
You may have heard of performer and comedian Awkwafina… but what do you know about the woman behind the stage name, Nora Lum?
“Awkwafina is still someone that comes without all of the layers of anxiety. She is more confident than Nora,” Lum says. “Nora does hide behind her still. I don’t see how Nora exists in Awkwafina’s world yet. I don’t see how I could have done this without Awkwafina, which is weird.”
Harper’s Bazaar | Read more…
Even flesh wounds leave scars.
Read all the reader essays on the theme of “scars”in the latest issue of the Christian Century, including a short essay by yours truly about my failing right eye—scroll most of the way down the page.)
The Christian Century | Read more…