My thoughts on Joy:
I am always thankful that my mom taught us joy. I grew up Lutheran and didn’t have the guilt and intentional suffering placed on me that many of my Catholic friends seemed to have. My mom always brought happiness to our lives. She taught us to pray and spend time with God, love everyone, be giving with our time and money, but also feel joy and happiness.
She was someone who would stop everything she was doing when someone came to visit. Mom would offer them something to eat and drink and sit and listen intently to them. The neighborhood kids called her Mom and always came back to talk to her and share their joy and their sadness.
I didn’t really understand how lucky I was. I was blessed with her presence for the first eighteen years of my life. Back then, I thought that a mom like mine was the norm. It makes me sad when people tell me how they suffered and were denied as if it’s a good thing to inflict suffering and pain on oneself or one’s family. There’s enough suffering in the world already without making them intentional.
I understand that trials often bring us closer to God. But what if there is a state of existence where we have relationships that find God more frequently when we feel joy and are doing the things we love?
I personally have always seen God in my boys. Particularly when they are truly enjoying one another and playing together. Their joy brings me great joy. I am certain God feels joy when we are having fun. There is a time for prayer and reflection, there is a time for community and charity, there is a time for working hard, and there is plenty of time for joy and happiness.
I don’t understand why we would deny ourselves joy if it brings God joy! Work hard and play hard. I know both make God happy.
John 15: 11-17
11 “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. 12 This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. 16 It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. 17 This I command you: love one another.”