A riff on joy

Joy is one of the most elusive emotions, flickering in and out of our lives like winter sunshine between storm fronts. We want it. We court it. And often, joy dances just out of reach—promising, beckoning, but always withdrawing faster than we can reach it. The unspoken, but felt, reasoning sometimes goes like this: If this and this happens, when this and that comes to fruition, when all this worldly stuff takes place, then we'll have a right to a brief moment of exultation.

So we give up. Joy is too much of a stretch. We grow weary of empty hands.

But we do have a right to joy. It's part of holiness, of being whole —all of one piece. Episcopalian liturgy talks about people as "being one substance with the Father." Joy is a spiritual quality and, as such, is inherent in us. We're used to thinking of ourselves as so much flesh and bone, piled-up solid bodies. But even physics—that arbiter of modern thought—doesn't tell us that. Physics says we are mainly whirling empty space. All the so-called solid matter in our solar system, the dense bits of electrons, could be compacted to the size of an orange. We are ideas dreaming that we are fixed into position. Yet just as the idea of beauty is inherent in stars and galaxies, so the idea of joy is inherent in us.

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

Testimony of Healing
Inspired thoughts bring freedom from sickness
September 24, 2001

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.