Arthur Benson’s book Joyous Gard contains twenty-eight short essays (chapters) on subjects ranging from Poetry and Hope to Education. These chapters provide the backbone and structure for the daily posts in Thinking in Ink.
We live in a difficult world. And regardless of your age, you may feel that life grows yet more complicated every day. But it’s no wonder. In these modern times we are continuously infused with streaming awareness of news and telemedia. The very benefits afforded to us in our electronic age have also stolen our quiet moments and times for reflection. I believe that most of us — even if unknowingly — yearn for a time when our minds would be softened and our efforts realigned to produce the best we have to offer.
In the book Joyous Gard you’ll read of a castle by that same name where Sir Lancelot would return from the trials of battle in order to convalesce and prepare for the field once again. He knew well that his return to Joyous Gard and the resulting renewal of life could never to be fully captured and held on to. Life is fraught with difficulty and pain. And like Lancelot each of us must face our own battles. There is a time, however — a time for each of us to return to that quiet life of thoughtfulness, within the walls the castles that we would build in order to find the vital energy we so desperately need.
The daily thoughts that I publish in some way follow the rhythm of the twenty-eight chapters of Joyous Gard. And it is my hope that by returning each day to Joyous Gard you’ll be reminded of the reality of beauty that awaits you there, only to give you needed energy to return to the field afresh with vitality and purpose.
The struggles that Sir Lancelot faced in the field of battle were made no less difficult by the castle of Joyous Gard, but his return home certainly made the struggles more meaningful. Even so is my promise: that while the trials of daily life may grow no easier, the habit of returning home will make your fight worthwhile.
— Levi Hill