Archive for the ‘Joy’ Category

Sympathetic Joy

Thursday, August 15th, 2019

Sympathetic joy takes our attention away from our own preoccupations and allows us to see that joy is available in many more places than we have yet imagined.

— Sharon Salzberg, Real Love, p. 293

Photo:  South Riding, Virginia, August 14, 2019

Where Wonder Leads

Saturday, July 27th, 2019

Do we have time to notice the baby-fingernail moon, a thick cape of morning mist, the diamond dew? Do we play anymore, step away from tasks, duties, and habits with curiosity? Tread carefully: if you are not vigilant, this may lead to wonder, which is joy, which every fear in you knows will lead to job failure and lost revenue.

— Anne Lamott, Almost Everything, p. 167-168

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, July 26, 2019

Joy at the Center

Sunday, July 14th, 2019

Often we get sidetracked and let insignificant matters eclipse what is most important. Forgetting that the kingdom of God is fundamentally about peace and joy, we act as if it’s really about work, doing our duty, making enough money, building the church, organizing prayer meetings, or keeping other Christians in line. Why do we find it so hard to believe that joy is at the center, not at the periphery, of the spiritual life? Joy is what gives the spark to everything else. With joy we can accomplish much work; without joy we can work and work and get nowhere.

— Mike Mason, Champagne for the Soul, p. 144

Photo: Rhododendron Park, Bremen, Germany, May 16, 2004

Joy in the Present Moment

Wednesday, May 29th, 2019

If I’m trying to be happy today in the same way I was happy yesterday, I’ll fail. The manna of joy falls in limitless supply, but each day’s rations must be gathered afresh. Joy inhabits only the present moment; if I can’t embrace it now, it’s gone.

What keeps me from seizing joy in the moment? Sorrow, obviously; yet joy too, either remembered or anticipated, can alienate me from present reality. Great things have happened and will happen, but they cannot compare with what God does right now, that His power and glory may continually spring forth fresh.

— Mike Mason, Champagne for the Soul, p. 141

Delight in What’s Before You

Friday, May 10th, 2019

God, right there, today, in the person in front of me, joy beyond holding, beholding this day, Paradise. You delight in what is before you today in Christ. Richard Rolheiser writes that, “the opposite of depression is not happiness, it’s delight.” After all, we breathe the Spirit that delights in our being. We don’t breathe in the Spirit that just sort of puts up with our mess. It’s about delight.

— Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart, p. 159

Photo:  Bull Run Regional Park, Virginia, April 8, 2019

Joy in the Ordinary

Friday, April 5th, 2019

As I examined the reasons for my joy in the midst of the most ordinary days, I realized that joy loves ordinary life best of all. Joy thrives on what all the rest of the world overlooks. The smaller, the plainer, the more lowly the circumstances, the happier joy is.

Of course joy can also thrive in exotic and thrilling situations. Joy itself does not inhere, however, in the exotic and the thrilling, which are rare, but in the ordinary, which is everywhere. As I ride on a roller coaster with my daughter, what produces joy is not the roller-coaster but the fact of sharing an experience with my daughter, which I could also do at home. Or maybe it’s watching the people in the car ahead that brings me joy, or noticing the way the sun shines on the rooftops around. Without the enjoyment of such ordinary things, a roller-coaster ride falls flat.

Those who think of joy as flashy and exciting will also find it fickle, for not much of life is glitzy. True joy, far from being loud and capricious, is by nature just the opposite — quiet and faithful.

— Mike Mason, Champagne for the Soul, p. 139-140

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, April 5, 2019

God’s Joy

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

You want to be there when the poetry happens. Isaiah has God say: “Be glad forever and rejoice in what I create . . . for I create my people to be a delight.” God thinking we’d enjoy ourselves. Delighting is what occupies God, and God’s hope is that we join in. That God’s joy may be in us and this joy may be complete. We just happen to be God’s joy. That takes some getting used to.

— Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart, p. 158

Photo: Oregon Coast, August 6, 2014

Nourished by Joy

Monday, March 18th, 2019

Learn to nourish yourself and the other person with joy. Are you able to make the other person smile? Are you able to increase her confidence and enthusiasm? If you’re not able to do these small things for her, how can you say you love her? Sometimes a kind word is enough to help someone blossom like a flower.

— Thich Nhat Hanh, How to Love, p. 43

Photo: Zweibrücken Rose Garden, Germany, June 2003

Joy Training

Monday, March 11th, 2019

Some of us periodically need to repeat the joy training, rehabilitate the part of us that naturally dims or gets injured by busyness, or just by too much bad news to bear. Adults rarely have the imagination or energy of children, but we do have one another, and nature, and old black-and-white movies, and the ultimate secret weapon, books. Books! To fling myself into a book, to be carried away to another world while being at my most grounded, on my butt or in my bed or favorite chair, is literally how I have survived being here at all. Someone else is doing the living for me, and all I have to do is let their stories, humor, knowledge, and images — some of which I’ll never forget — flow through me, even as I forget to turn off the car when I arrive at my destination.

— Anne Lamott, Almost Everything, p. 64-65

Photo: Swans over South Riding, Virginia, December 31, 2015

Optimism – Future and Past

Monday, March 4th, 2019

Joy requires optimism — optimism not only about the future but about the past. The worse our past has been, the more need we have to be optimistic about it. Forgiveness means letting go of the hope of a better past. Optimism, like forgiveness, reaches into yesterday and actually changes what we thought could never be changed. The terrible blunder we made last week suddenly becomes a blessing, a doorway into some new opportunity. Just as regret over yesterday has the power to spoil today, so joy today has the power to obliterate a lifetime of pain. Is such joy an illusion? No, it’s the truth, but it takes optimism to see this. Where there’s been much pain, the Lord will give much joy to more than make up for “the years the locusts have eaten” (Joel 2:25).

— Mike Mason, Champagne for the Soul, p. 135-136

Photo: Sembach, Germany, January 29, 2004