Pleasure was to be viewed with suspicion in the hard-working, religious community of
my childhood. It was not high on the to do list. Although my family did not fit into the church community, when I became a Christian, it came with a list of Thou Shalt Nots. Thou shalt not have pleasure, well not too much. But one could find guilt-free pleasure in hard work and church activity.
Pleasure as noted in my online dictionary is defined as: enjoyment and entertainment, contrasted with things done out of necessity. Most of daily life is done out of necessity.
Pleasure –A more recently acquired taste.
I have two women I connect with on a deep spiritual level, and for the past four years we have begun the tradition of The Pink Mountain Retreat, to enjoy life, to encourage each other, and to drink in God's beauty. In one of the earlier times as we were eating and laughing, Rita said, she envisioned God smiling down on us, taking pleasure in the three of us enjoying our time. I must admit, my mind questioned her idea. Would God really take pleasure in us having a good/rich time?
I am beginning to believe so. John Eldredge in his book, Beautiful Outlaw, retells the story of Jesus' meeting the disciples on the beach after he has risen. It is Jesus' familiarity with his friends, the way he casually approaches them, and then asks about the fishing (again) and suggests as he had once before – Why not try the other side? – implying an insider joke. As if he delighted in their company.
When do I feel God's delight? In good company, where the spirit connects.
And in the presence of Beauty.
I have listed myself as a seeker of beauty. When I am in the presence of beauty, I feel the Father's pleasure. The skies, the oceans, the flowers, the mountains speak comfort and caring into my soul. Beauty is God's universal gift to us, it is found everywhere.
John O'Donohue in his book Beauty, The Invisible Embrace has said that: “Beauty touches and renews our hope when it takes us out of the grid of ordinary time and brings us to another place, a place where history ceases and the weight of memory relents, a place ever ancient and ever new ... No one is ever immune to beauty. Regardless of background, burdens or limitations, when we find ourselves in a place of great beauty, clarity, recognition and excitement awaken in us. ... there is an eternal beckoning of the heart that touches what is still innocent in us.”
God is at the heart of the Big Picture Beauty.
The soul needs beauty as much as it needs love.
What advice would I give to someone who is discouraged and needs to feel God’s pleasure?
To seek out beauty.
Ruthlessly eliminate hurry.
Take the time to waste time in the presence of beauty. (Guilt free!)
In thinking about the Father's Day, and beauty this song springs to mind:
This is my Father's world,and to my listening ears
all nature sings, and round me ringsthe music of the spheres.
This is my Father's world:
I rest me in the thought
of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
his hand the wonders wrought.
Jocelyn is author of the book Who is Talking out of My Head?
She blogs about hope in the hard places at: http://whoistalking.wordpress.com