Sometimes joy seems impertinent.
Once upon a time there was a king who wished to transport something infinitely powerful, and exceedingly lethal to mortals. The king failed to adhere to, and abide by, the particular protocol necessary to ensure the safety of the community while moving the mortally perilous object. The negligence of the king resulted in the death of a valued member of the community. So the king hit pause on the project for 3 months. Then, with the memory of the deceased still fresh, the king picked up the project once again. Now you might imagine that the king would only resume the enterprise with the utmost solemnity and un-celebratory sternness. However (perhaps to your grave dismay) the king recommenced the work with the maximum amount of merriment! The king rejoiced and danced before the in-transit object with all his might; leaping, and shouting, and blowing horns, and blessing all the on-lookers, and distributing gifts of filet mignon, and sourdough bread, and aphrodisiacs!
The king’s wife was embarrassed by her husband. In fact, “embarrassed” might be putting it too nicely …she was mortified and appalled by her husband’s behavior! The king’s conduct seemed patently inappropriate. When the king arrived home that evening his wife sarcastically assaulted him saying, “How the king has honored himself today!” The king’s bride vigorously accused him of flagrant impertinence saying, “You’ve shamed yourself! You’ve shown yourself to be a vulgar man!” In short, the king’s wife adamantly believed that her husband’s manifest joy was audacious and insolent.
The king’s response to his wife’s accusations was equally resolute; he said, “The transported object is the sacrament of my Maker’s pleasure to be present with us! I had to dance, I had to jump for joy, I had to distribute gifts, I had to shout and blow the horns of exaltation! …I had to enter the joy of our Author! If this seems contemptible to you, then let it be known that I am settled in my determination to be abased in your eyes, for I will never decline the invitation to enter the joy of our Author!”
Does the king’s joy seem audacious to you?
Here’s another story…
Once upon a time there was a chap who abandoned his family. He squandered a sizable portion of his family’s money on cocottes and heroine. Eventually it dawned on this guy that his approach to life wasn’t going to be sustainable, so he came crawling back to his family. This guy was afflicted by a serious repulsion of what he had done, and now possessed the proper motivation to take life seriously as a responsible member of his family. His plan was to propose a strict regiment of stern penance, however upon his return the head of the family welcomed the man home as if he were a hero come back from the dead! Instead of being permitted to pursue his a sensible scheme of solemn self-abasement, he was assaulted by a tsunami of jubilation (a blowout! – choice steaks, the best wine, jolly music, and euphoric dancing!).
Now here’s a dilemma …when you have categorically and comprehensively failed, and subsequently you prescribe to yourself a steady diet of penance; but then the people you’ve wronged manifestly reject your penance program and insist instead on throwing you a party.
Do you attend the party? Do you enter the lavish domain of joy at this solemn life intersection? If you make the risky-decision to accept the party invite – do you fully participate or do you limit yourself to the veggie platter and force yourself to abstain from the fillet mignon? If you fully participate in the party won’t people assume that you’re not taking your transgression seriously …they’ll say, “he’s not actually remorseful; he’s unrepentant.” Perhaps it’s all a test, perhaps people are just waiting to see if you take the bait, and then they’ll use this against you!
What would you do? …If you failed as this man had, and then you were offered the prospect of a sumptuous party being held in your honor – would you accept or decline?