Joy is an interesting concept. As a believer we understand joy to be a supercedant of fleeting pleasures like happiness. Joy is a deep, warm recognition of harmonies around universal truths and their parts in your life. It is as simple as a baby’s coo and as complicated as purpose in sacrifice.
Nonetheless, joy is the greatest and most durable of qualities; it dichotomously motivates us while inherently cannot be pursued. Like compulsory love, pursued joy is unattainable. It cannot be purchased, earned, or retrieved. Joy can only be discovered once it is already present.
It is an interesting discussion to consider if joy itself is a spiritual emotion. We know that physical emotions like agony, elation, and even happiness are tied to current conditions. Joy, on the other hand, is not subject to the current condition. Is that because it is a spiritual matter?
Some non-believers experience joy. I believe this. I think joy is a gift endowed by God. I think God gives to all people some measure of pleasure. But is joy a condition through which all spirits naturally pass? I believe it may be tied to our physical alignment with universal intentions.
I talk about that more in my past blog on destiny.
Someone once said humor’s vice is that there is always a victim. I can’t argue with that, but I disagree with the conclusion if the conclusion is to disparage humor. Similarly, joy reflects this unattractive trade-off and would not be discounted as a valuable and desirable quality.
An example is: a friend of mine leading an Alexandria, Virginia church. He and his family felt called to move to a new congregation in Newport. Every sign confirmed them. As they proceeded through the process it became even clearer. This was what they were supposed to do.
The receiving congregation became enjoyed by the anticipation of his coming. But their joy, as one congregation member pointed out, “rested on the backs of his current congregation’s pain” as they will bear the realities of his leaving. It was a painful, real trade-off of one’s joy for another’s.
So, is it consequentially invalid?
To that end, I think joy may have a built-in natural trade-off for to accomplish it. As humor may require a “victim” to formulaically deliver, so joy may have a contrarian “sorrow” necessary for it to be fully transmitted. Is there a yin to the yang of joy?
When I teach my girls about winning, we talk about how great it is. But the most important part of winning is the honor of losing – especially the precarious position of second place. The first may be last in God’s collation, but the volunteer loser enables a winner.
I worked at Kanakuk. Every term had a race where the entire camp would race around the property and return to a glorious finish line of cheering counselors. Every single camper, the fast runners, and the fat slow runners. Turning this race, “winning” was a variable term.
One term I worked had hundreds of kids pouring out from the race’s start. We received them back rather quickly. Except for our faster runner who was noticeably missing – he was the director’s son. We soon found him at the end of the peloton, jogging next to the fattest camper huffing and puffing.
He came in dead last, letting the fat camper take whatever glory remained. The campers and counselors witnessing this marvel cheered like the Olympic Village after a host country’s gold. And at that moment the first came in last, and the last became first. There was honor and joy in that loss.