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Reflection | JOY

Do I have joy? It’s a good question to ask ourselves but how can we really know when the concept of joy seems so elusive?

Joy is often used interchangeably with happiness but it’s actually quite different. Happiness is an emotion - it comes and goes and is dependent on our circumstances. Joy, however, is a state of being - it remains despite the ups and downs of life. It feels something like a combination of contentment and hope while bringing with it a sense of hope.

Where does joy come from? For many of us, joy comes a relationship with God - simply knowing God and trusting that you are loved just as you are can be a source of great joy. For others, it can come from feeling like they really know and understand themselves and their purpose.

Wherever it comes from, unlike happiness, it doesn’t disappear easily. It isn’t swayed by what is going on around us because it lives at the core of who we are. Joy might be something that can cause happiness but being happy won’t cause joy - it goes deeper than that. We can even experience joy when going through hard times and it can help us get through them. As Amelia Barr puts it, “It is only in sorrow that bad weather masters us; in joy we face the storm and defy it”.

We can search for joy in the wrong places, mistaking it for the temporary pleasure and highs of this world but actually joy comes from turning upward and inward - getting into the how, who and why of who you are. It can help to spend time in meditation and prayer, in conversation with those you trust and reflecting through journaling. Allow yourself to explore life’s bigger questions and then find peace with your answers.

“I have drunken deep of joy, I will taste no other wine tonight.”

P.B. Shelley

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