The Quake of Uncommon Toil

I hear joy. It comes from downstairs, in the school room. Mother and daughter  laughing together as daughter reads her first sentences. 

I hear joy in the land of pretend as daughter number two plays in the hallway, content to be alone in the wonder of her imagination. 

I hear joy as baby-baby walks from room to room clopping her Wellies, jibber-jabbering to no one in particular. 

I hear joy in the verse of Coleridge

Return pure Faith! return meek Piety!

The kingdoms of the world are yours; each heart

Self-governed, the vast family of Love

Raised from the common earth by common toil

Enjoy the equal produce. Such delights

As float to earth, permitted visitants!

When in some hour of solemn jubilee

The massy gates of Paradise are thrown 

Wide open, and forth come in fragments wild

Sweet echoes of unearthly melodies

O the passion rising from the uncommon voice and the yearning heart of the poet, of you and of me. 

I hear joy as the wind funnels by in a midnight rush--I ride my bike home beneath cold sky and singing stars--O, the joy! 

I hear the joy in the smiles of new friends as new thoughts stir imagination, as story forms in the mind's eye, finding substance in words and drawings on the page. 

We bend, do we not? Beneath the quake of common toil. And yet we find how bending brings joy just as water smooths the stone. Our daily friction curving and carving our lives into the stones that color the water, that tumble the creeks, that rapid the rivers in a joyous cacophony of magnificence. 

We run and shimmer. 

We, of the Kingdom's land. 

We, of the joyous land. 

Timothy Willard loves to sit with his wife by the bonfire and make up stories about Tom the Backyard-Badger for his three lovely daughters. When he's not carving up the Appalachian Mountains on his Salsa El Mariachi, you can find him busy writing a book, collaborating on a book, or reading a book written by someone dead and gone. Timothy studied beauty in the works of C.S. Lewis under theologian Alister McGrath. The author of five books, including Veneer: Living Deeply in a Surface Society (Zondervan), Timothy is currently finishing The Life-Changing Adventure of Chasing Beauty (Eerdmans, 2019), preparing his doctoral thesis for publication, and trying to find a publisher for his first novel The Tempest and the Bloom. He lives somewhere in the south Charlotte woods.