Joy is not made to be a crumb

One month ago today I was heading into an eight day silent retreat at Loyola House, an organic farm and retreat center in Guelph, run by a group of Jesuits. This experience was made possible through the generosity of some amazing friends, and every one of those eight days was a gift.

With the help of a spiritual director (with whom I was allowed to speak for one hour per day), I worked through some bits of deep grief, leaned into prayer and the astounding beauty of nature, befriended a cat, read some good books, enjoyed incredible food, and took lots of nourishing naps.

One of the main themes that emerged during the retreat was the idea of leaning into joy. Life, as we all know, can be so full of sorrow and pain that we may push away or distrust the arrival of joy when it comes. Mary Oliver put it this way:

“If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give into it… don’t be afraid of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.”

Coming out of the retreat, one of my intentions has been to follow Mary’s advice: to relish moments of joy and fun, knowing that they are gifts. Another intention has been to actively create opportunities for fun, at The Dale and in my down time.

Today was a perfect example: The Dale took a long-anticipated trip to Center Island! The weather held up, food was enjoyed, many laughs were shared, and everyone who entered the cedar maze made it out in one piece!

I kept waiting for someone to lose their cool, for the clouds to start pouring, for the ferry to capsize… but it was just a lovely, fun and joyful day. So I leaned into it! Joy is not made to be a crumb.


By joannacatherinemoon

I am the Lead Community Worker at The Dale Ministries in Parkdale, Toronto, ON. The Dale seeks to create safe welcoming spaces in which all people, particularly those on the margins, are encouraged to participate fully, to the best of their abilities and journey together toward a deeper experience of the life God has given us. This blog is meant to help keep my supporters connected with life at The Dale.

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