I’ve seen several news pieces on the Grammy winner John Batiste. I don’t know his music but I found the interviews with him compelling. His wife, Suleika Jaouad is suffering from cancer. She was diagnosed in 2011 and given a 35% chance of survival. She did survive and wrote a best-selling memoir entitled “Between Two Kingdoms” about her journey.
Just as her husband was being nominated for numerous Grammys (he won five), they find out her cancer is back. John said this news put the awards in perspective.
In spite of his wife’s personal struggles, they still find joy in living. Humans are resilient John says and somehow in the very worst circumstances, they are able to find joy. He sites the musicians in Ukraine who play their instruments in the bomb shelters, sing as they walk, and relish a bowl of hot soup.
Joy is found in simple everyday pleasures – a hot cup of coffee, an impromptu dance party in the kitchen while doing the dishes, a dog placing its head on your knee, the smell of bread baking, the sound of children playing, the dawn’s light creeping into the room, feet hitting the floor, giving thanks for a new day.
It’s easy to miss the joy.
John Batiste says music is a spiritual practice. Listening to music, playing music, or singing changes us in the moment. It helps us find the joy.
I used to chant the Venite at morning prayer when I was in seminary.
Venite Psalm 95:1-7
Come, let us sing to the Lord; *
let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving *
and raise a loud shout to him with psalms.
For the Lord is a great God, *
and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the caverns of the earth, *
and the heights of the hills are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it, *
and his hands have molded the dry land.
Come, let us bow down, and bend the knee, *
and kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand. *
Oh, that today you would hearken to his voice!
This is how to spark joy!