Point of View: Hand in Hand

I am the designated joyous one

    I was not myself this past weekend, nor was Mary herself. You may well ask, who were we then?
    “It’s not you,” she said at one point.
    “Of course not,” I said, “because I’m not myself.”
    Still, I felt like atoning for having freighted one night in the city with such a fervent hope we’d be able to get beyond ourselves that we came close to self-destructing.
    It was too much “relax and hurry up,” and for that I was sorry.
    By the time we got home — in record time — we had begun to find ourselves again. While I mowed lawns, she took arthritic Henry to Louse Point (our Lourdes), and, after a long nap I was able to report cheerily that “I’m beginning to feel more like myself.”
    Soon, I was beside myself with joy running within myself at the high school’s turf field.
    I am the designated joyous one, though sometimes I forget that joy is where you find it. It can’t be imposed, or manufactured, and it can’t erase pain, though it can go hand in hand with it, and, in fact, must, as lovers who’ve lived a while on this earth know.
    This week, I read that the fellow who wrote “Milord,” a song my father and I used to sing with gusto, had said that only joy should reign, that pain was a sacrilege.
    But how would you know joy if it weren’t for pain? Not that I’m plumping for it, but that’s the way it is.
    And so, at long last, we’ve begun to grow into ourselves, said Mary, knowing, as we do, that joy and pain go together, hand in hand.