I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning to finish this novel. I had intended to savor this novel, to read it slowly and reflect upon different sections as I read it but no, I couldn’t stop myself. Once I started reading, I was immersed into this wonderful reunion in which these two powerful individuals talked openly about humanity, they shared of themselves and the world around them.
The reunion was held in the home of Dalai Lama and during their visit they also celebrated his 80th birthday. These two highly influential men have met a handful of times before and they were meeting for five days to discuss what true joy was, how to achieve it and what the Eight Pillars of Joy were. I enjoyed this novel tremendously, I enjoyed the humor and the tenderness that they shared between them. The way they joked with one another, the patting of each other after a humorous chuckle, the holding of each other’s hands and just waiting for the other person to speak, spoke volumes for the love and respect that they had for one another. It is a treasured friendship, one that is picked up immediately upon seeing one another and it brought smiles and laughs from the individuals that they were around including myself as I read. What I read intrigued me and enlightened me and I know that I will have to reread this novel to fully appreciate it.
The reason this novel is so important now is that the world is hurting, in every part of the globe there are individuals who are struggling and need to find joy. There is no need for sorrow, they both agree on this. They both agree that individuals need each other to find joy and the concept behind joy. These great leaders go into great details, humorous at times, about these concepts and it was interesting, their ideas and the stories that they share, both personal and about others. Douglas probes them deeper into their thoughts about humanity exploring issues such as sadness, acceptance, gratitude, compassion and humility. There were lots of different subjects, stories and these leaders shared their views openly and I appreciated Douglas’ effort and the heartfelt responses that he received in return.
My eyes started to cloud over, the tears streaming down my cheeks as the Archbishop gets ready to depart for the airport. Their time together is over for now. The jokes, the hand holding and the way that they smiled at one another is coming to an end. They are both fighting for peace, they are both getting up there in years, one is battling an illness, and one is restricted in where he can travel, who knows if they will ever see each other in-person again and they know this. This is a novel that should be read, one that should be reflected upon for there are many inspirations and views inside.