Sunday, December 06, 2009

On Joy

Not mine, but beautiful anyway:
So, I just finally finished Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis. And I wanted to quote him a little because I thought it rather pretty.

"Joy itself proclaimed 'You want - I myself am your want of - something other, outside, not you nor any state of you."
"For I understand that in the deepest solitude there is a road right out of the self, a commerce which...claims itself objective, desired." A desire not found in ourselves but in the Desired.
His entire young adult life was spurred by a search to find this Joy.
This feeling of "Oh, yes. This is how it's supposed to be."

"Joy was not a deception. Its visitations were rather the moments of clearest conciousness we had, when we became aware of our fragmentary and phantasmal nature and ached for that impossible reunion."
He said, like Plato's Allegory of the Cave (Lewis taught philosophy...so go figure), that we are all mere appearances of some Absolute.
Therefore somehow we have some root in this Absolute and Joy is that panging bittersweet longing to be united with this completeness.
It's really beautiful.

I always thought Joy meant being happy when you shouldn't be really. Using the classic example, Paul was locked away in prison but he had joy, or...he was happy?
So we -
we are to be happy when things are bad because we know that one day we will be happy in heaven.
I love that this is not true. Paul had joy because he was there in prison, with God. He was singing and sharing and laughing because he was rooted in the Absolute.
I heard a quote at Trinity the other day that has been one of my faves since the first time I heard it last year and it goes : "The only place that God can bless us is where we are (Richard Foster)." Or, more loosely "The only place God is working is where we are, right now."
C.S.Lewis also said Joy was unpredictable. It's not something you can look for and find, these moments. But it's rare and when it happens it's beautful.
So I've been rethinking mostly about when I have felt this Joy.
A month ago I would have said it's when I persevered when I had the flu really bad that one time, or when my friends stopped caring about me but I forgave them and it doesn't bother me.

But really. really, my whole life this has been going on. Joy has been:

Meeting people that love me from the start.
Laying in the grass in the mountains, especially when big billowing soft clouds sift through the tops of them.
A really good song that never gets old.
A not so good song that you can sing at the top of your lungs.
Merlot and pepperjack triscuits and late night futbol.
Three girls laying on a bed, eating cookie dough, and thinking everything is funny.
Dancing to Hey Mrs. Potter while cleaning off 400 tables full of dirty dishes.
Coffee in the morning with a good book.
Coffee in the morning with some pen and paper.
Coffee in the morning with a friend.
Being surrounded by books I've never read.
The dry orangey red mountains in Mexico.
The Fall. and I'll go ahead and say spring and summer and winter too.
Eating dinner with people, especially small groups of people.
Dancing when you don't know what you're doing, or what you might look like, but you do it anyways.
The sunshine.
Understanding baseball.
Botanical gardens.
People that I love.
Riding in a car with the boy I just love, to places like Charleston or Atlanta or St. Louis, or what have you.
Airports.
Plane rides, and plane rides while the sun sets.

I don't know if that's right, I just know that these are the times that I have felt "moments of clearest conciousness" where everything inside of me stirs with some longing for something beautiful and perfect and I feel it brush by me and all I can do is everything but hold on to it.
But it came, and it will come because we live in a world where Jesus is so very present and God is weaving in and out of the very being of ourselves.

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