When you're dying, it's easy to focus on pain - for it's a physically unpleasant process.
It's easy to focus on heartbreak - because the places you love will, before too long, mot hear, and eventually not remember the sound of your voice, or your familiar footfall.
It's easy to focus on loss, because other lives will go on, and you'll become a photo in an album, a video clip watched with decreasing frequency until the very electrons that form your image lose their cohesive grip.
Yes, you'll be with God, but God placed us here because this life is something of value/ Not only for its formative powers, but because of love and feeling and sentiment.
After all, Jesus wept for sorrow at the news of Lazarus' death.
But there is also joy.
There is joy in the love of my wife...nit the Hallmark-card sentimentality, but eh love that says, what you still can do, you do...and I will be here to help.
There is joy in the clear frosted blue of the high sky, just before the bladelike heat of another New Mexico summer day.
There is joy in the breeze that may bring the rain, the smell of ozone on the air.
There is joy in writing, in ideas imperfectly committed to...uh, well, not paper, exactly. The digital age has sure changed some well-used phrases!
There is joy...the highest kind...in steadfast friend whom I may never meet, offering support and love that I've never before experienced.
There's joy in watching Chris, a labrador whose best friend recently died, learn to play all over again with a Pit named Sylvia (whose picture you may find on this page!). But ylvia's idea of a fun game is "Let's scare Chris to death!"
She's a marshmallow, but he doesn't know that yet!
Joy is the Breath of Heaven.
And it is a choice.
We can embrace joy. We can part the thickets of pain, take the machete of courage to the vines of fear, and uncover that long-forgotten treasure, overlooked when doctor visits became a bigger part of life than dancing.
Joy awaits our return, patiently, and without reproach.
Just like the father of the prodigal.
Just like God.