By: Mr. Lu
Annushka gave me a plant, and I hate plants. Another student had given me a plant before, and we struggled to keep the thing alive, and now the cycle was being renewed. I wanted to throw it out the window.
It wasn’t always like this. I remember years ago trudging behind Ms. Logher on an outdoor ed trip, and being led to a lookout with a wide, sprawling vista unfolding away from me. Pausing and drinking it all in, the joyful sound of nothingness amid the plants and greenery was refreshing and inspiring.
I’ve learned we need to cling to these sounds of joy, and listen carefully in the here and now. Someone in chronic pain once said how they wished they could have treasured those days without pain, the sound of easy movement and physicality. The present danger of taking what we perceive as standard moments for granted is they become an ebbing, just out of reach memory in the future. It’s a well worn theme, but worth the reminder. As Pink Floyd noted, “You are young, and your life is long and there is time to kill today. And then one day you find, ten years have got behind you. No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.”
I remember Terry once teaching me how to play a game called Hearthstone. His gentle, almost tender, soothing style infused his teaching spirit. I never did learn to play the game properly, but that pliable and warm voice coming from this rebellious giant will stick with me as a joyful sound.
I remember those grade 10 after school days, when the Collets, Josh, Emma, Vincent, and Annushka would gather in my room doing work, talking nonsense, talking serious, and just talking and talking. The loud energetic cacophony could easily be dismissed, but were joyful in their own warped way.
I remember Abhi, Hamza, and Charlie hanging out after our online class. Hamza would display some bizarre household item. Not to be outdone, Abhi could counter with the latest, even more bizarre, video on his YouTube channel. I could close my eyes and listen to those videos, chuckle, laugh, and know there is raucous, pick-me-up joy there.
During winter break, my family went to see the light show at VanDusen Gardens. After spilling through the entrance, we were greeted by a spectacular pond with the ostentatious letters J O Y positioned in the middle of the pond blinking bright lights mercilessly. Forced cheerful music blared from speakers. As I stood making sense of this spectacle, I heard a sudden loud moan off to the side, and I saw a man with special needs. He was being led by the hand by a caregiver with patient, practiced eyes. Right then and there, I knew I was listening to joy.
The sounds of joy take many forms, and they need to be gathered, treasured, and hoarded, and brought out on dark, hopeless days. Whether it’s a plant or a moan, I know I need to be listening. I hope you’ll be listening too.