I don’t pretend to have anything near omniscience, not even down the street from the ball-park of omnipotence, and I’d just wear out my welcome if I was omnipresent, but I do aspire, in a delusional sort of way, towards omni-competence. I like to be able to do a variety of things and do them well; I like the feeling of competence.
Trouble is I need lots of remedial work in so many areas of the art of living, including living each day in joy. You’ve got a couple of basic options when you realize you need help: 1) bluff and act like you’re competent (tried this and mostly you end up looking the fool), 2) act coolly indifferent (“really, how can this be of any importance? Does anyone need to learn this?”), or 3) click on the help button (most of us know how to find the help option in a computer program but have no clue how to access it in life).
For me, one of the best ways to find help is to locate someone who does well what I want to learn. Years ago I wanted to learn rock-climbing and found a friend who did it well. In school, when a student struggles to learn some academic discipline, a tutor is a good gift.
If you struggle to live joyfully, ask yourself: who is the most joyful person you know? Who artlessly lives out gladness each day? Let them be your joy tutor. Watch them, do what they do, ask them about it, learn from them and apprentice yourself to them.
One of the best joy instructors came to Calgary last June and I was so privileged to be near enough to watch him live in joy, not just every day, but full out everyday. He was my nephew David Powell, “the man with the eternal smile” who very tragically died in a car accident last December. But for a few months David spread his infectious joy around the Calgary area and in so doing lives on as one of my joy tutors.
David was a joy-jedi who embodied deep gladness – his steady smile and bright eyes. He showed me what a “joy-first” posture looks like, sucking in life for all it offered. But most important, he knew the source of real joy and so live with joyful abandonment to Jesus Christ.
And get this – David’s final profile update on Facebook, days before he died, was so characteristic, so utterly David: “I want to run, jump and spread life in this world.” I can’t think of a better way to live and die than that, from my nephew, my jedi-joy-master, David.
Here’s a link (http://davidpowell.me/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/Davids-Song2.mp3) to a song that a few friends of David from River Park Church wrote and recorded, weaving these final words into a lovely song. Enjoy it as you think about who might tutor you in joy.