Joy Bell

You just never know what mouthpiece or tool God will use to get your attention. You’re just minding your own business and BANG! There you are looking at something you didn’t even realize you needed to hear.

I am a frequent listener to The Radio Reader on NPR. Currently, Dick Estelle is reading “A Son of the Game” (James Dodson)which is a personal memoir all tied up with middle age and golf. It’s interesting, but not a title I would expect to go to for spiritual direction. At least not until James begins to fill us in on his friend Tom. Tom is quite and interesting person – I’d like to meet him. It appears that one of the pivotal events in Tom’s life was working with Mother Teresa in Calcutta for a couple of months. The man was playing golf in Asia and decided it would be interesting to see if he could be of assistance to Mother Teresa for a couple of days. Two months later he returns to the US a changed man.

But, the Mother Teresa connection, interesting though it is, is not the thing that grabbed me. Later in the book, Tom reflects on remaking himself. He describes his perfect life as a golf pro, wonderful wife, young son, plenty of money. Perfect. Except that he realized that “As the Budhists would say, his Joy Bell was broken.” What a description of that place in life where things seem so perfect but there is something missing. Something must change. The Joy Bell is broken.

I think my joy bell is in sad shape right now. I’m a point of making some decisions that will affect the next few years of my life directly. There is the logical way to go. This is the way that makes the most sense financially. This way I can afford to do what I think I want to do. But, at what cost?

Sometimes, I don’t realize that something is missing until I find myself in a place where I feel whole – I feel “right” – as in, this is where I am supposed to be. It may not be where I think I want to be, but it is where I am supposed to be. Or it is a situation where I realize that I do have that sense of being whole, or in proper alignment.

That joy bell needs to have its crack repaired. I just hope to be able to listen and discover the best way to fix it.

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