Unpublished: There is an Element of Discipline in Being Prepared for Joy

I recently read the interview "Be Prepared for Joy" with poet Christian Wiman at Commonweal.

In the interview Christian speaks to issues that go to the heart of some of the things I describe in The Slavery of Death: the relationship between what I call the martyrological and eccentric identities and the experience of joy.

Regarding the martyrological aspect of joy, Christian describe how a sort of death and discipline is involved in joy. This is an experience of "crucifixion" in what Christian describes as "an obliteration of the will" which involves "an element of discipline in being prepared for joy."

Ponder that: an element of discipline in being prepared for joy.

From there, joy is found in a faith and hope that is imaginative rather than experienced. That is, a faith and hope in something that is outside--eccentric to--our experience, something that we don't currently possess but something that must be waited on and received: "Tomorrow I shall wake and welcome him."

More, enchantment is the product of faith and hope which are, in Christian's words, "imaginative—that is to say, projective—acts." In the words of Richard Wilbur's poetry that Christian cites: "what you project / is what you will perceive". And these projections and perceptions radically come to life: "With any passion, be it love or terror, / May take on whims and powers of its own."

From the interview:
...I feel that there is a great deal of joy in my work of the past ten years, but I do get letters from people telling me to ditch the sackcloth and ashes, and I get tired of my own grimace in mirrors. Can one really just decide to be more joyful, though? One aspect of joy is the suspension of will—the obliteration of will, really—though probably there is an element of discipline in being prepared for joy, just as there is in being prepared for poetry. “Iridescent readiness,” W. S. Di Piero calls it. And there are these lines from Richard Wilbur:
Try to remember this: what you project
Is what you will perceive; what you perceive
With any passion, be it love or terror,
May take on whims and powers of its own.
The thing is, we are always going to feel God’s absence more than his presence. We are always going to feel the imprint and onslaught of necessity, which is the crucifixion, more than we feel the release and freedom of pure joy, which is the resurrection. The first we experience; the second, even when it emerges out of experience, we believe. In that tiny gap of grammar is an abyss of difference. Suffering we know and share intimately with Christ (it’s how we bear it). Faith and hope are always imaginative—that is to say, projective—acts: “Tomorrow I shall wake to welcome him.”
--an unpublished post

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