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The Good Life 4, Joy

May 30, 2018

What makes you happy: good health, kindness, friends, beauty, money, a good book, winning an argument? Happy is not joy, for happiness has a short life. Joy is an attitude or the way life appears, seeing the glass half or more full, but ignoring or not seeing the empty part. Joy is the experience of hope and optimism.

The birthday party was a huge success. The guests had left, presents were piled in the living room, the cake a mass of crumbs, and three year old Kevin was not to be seen. His father found him crouched under a chair in the living room, crying. “Why are you crying?” his father asked. “Did you have fun?” The boy nodded. “Aren’t you happy?” continued father. The child smiled through his tears and said, “I’m so hoppy. I’m frilled.” Tears of joy are like summer raindrops, pierced by the sun. We are reminded not to cry when the party’s over, but to smile because it happened.

Joy is to discover life is thrilling. The Psalmist David knew joy because he knew the Lord. “The Lord is my strength and shield. My heart trusts him and I am helped.”(Psalm 28: 7) The psalm contains David’s attitude of gratitude. With that joy in our hearts, we endure all circumstances, and joy is kept alive even in darkest times. Our heavenly Father created us to have joy.

But there is night, the dark moments in life producing fear and worry. Psalm 30 reminds us that there is “joy in the morning.” The phrase has been used for titles of popular songs, movies, a TV series, and books — Joy in the Morning, a novel by P.D. Wodehouse in 1945 and another novel by Betty Smith in 1963. These novels produce weeping, laughing, raging and exulting. They remind us that after the dark night, there is joy in the morning.

C.S. Lewis wrote, “Joy is the serious business of heaven.” In my garden is a small stone bearing the words of Keats, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever,” a reminder there is joy in the written word, in pictures, in music and song, and in the garden. Beauty lifts the heart toward heaven. There is joy!

Some find joy in everything they do – washing dishes, dusting, shopping. There is satisfaction, a joy in doing everything as well as we can. Emily Dickinson observed, “The mere sense of living is joy enough.” Joy is an attitude. Choose joy.

 

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