Joy. Where does it come from? Can it be created? Can it be imparted?
When we are children, it seems that joy comes from the littlest things: from ice cream, a trip to the park, or a ride on anything with wheels.
Teenagers have a different relationship to joy than children. The things which used to bring them joy no longer do and so they go out and search for something or someone to bring them a sense of joy. Sometimes it is confused with pleasure, thrill-seeking, even danger.
But true joy seems to be more quiet than that. It seems to come sometimes by surprise. It fills our innermost being with a feeling like warm toast on a snowy morning or the first fireflies in June. It is deeper than happiness, more profound than contentment and more “alive.”
When joy touches our hearts, we feel connected to who we truly are and what we are intended to be. That is why falling in love is so joyful. It makes us feel our “aliveness, our potential, our true selves.”
There is joy in work well done. There is joy in true words spoken, or expressed in poetry, music or dance. There is joy in movement! But not all movement, all music or all poetry brings us joy. So what are the ingredients? What are the elements or the preconditions which bring “joy” into our hearts? We have been given a guiding light in the Gospel of John:
“If you take my aims into your will, then you will live on in my love-just as I have taken the aims of my Father into my will and live on in His love. These words I have spoken to you that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” John 15: 9-12.
We have been invited into Joy, as we have been invited to unite ourselves with the will of Christ. Authenticity. Coming to know our own true selves, becoming genuine, being in “alignment ” with our truest selves– this brings us joy, even in sorrow. When we are grieving, our ability to be in touch with our feelings, to hold the other person in the highest light, and to find acceptance (the will of God) brings us joy. Deep purification, even when painful, brings joy. We hold the key within our innermost selves.
As surely as the sun rises, you were meant to have joy in your heart, no matter what the outer circumstances of your life may be.