Monday, March 14, 2011

A Season for Nonviolence Reflections - Week 7

"Laughter can be more satisfying than honor, more precious than money, more heart-cleansing than prayer." - Harriet Rochlin

Anyone who has laughed so hard that they cannot stop understands the precious gift of laughter. It gives us a taste of something wonderful and something special. And who wouldn't want more of that?

But what happens when life hits us like a ton of bricks? Are the happy feelings automatically gone?

I have found it helpful to differentiate between the words happiness and joy. I have come to see happiness as being based on happenings (something actually happening). This happy feeling is connected to something and if that something is gone so is the feeling of happiness.

You can be happy because you just got a car. This happiness is temporal and is based on a situation and possession of a material object. If your car is destroyed you are no longer happy. Therefore, happiness is based on circumstances and is the response you have to these circumstances.

Joy is different. You can always have joy in your heart. Joy is the understanding that no matter what happens in your life (good or bad) there is a purpose behind it and you can become stronger and better for it. Joy comes from a clear understanding that God is in perfect control and that his providence is at work always. When we believe this no matter what is happening we can always have joy no matter what we are going through (James 1:2-4; Philippians 4:4). This leads to inner peace.

Joy is a feeling that is the result of a state of being that is connected to an unshakable truth; a truth that reminds us that we are loved by a divine being and a part of a cosmic plan to make the world a better place. It brings us comfort and security in the face of trials and affliction.

This week look for ways to remind yourself of this truth. Meditate on this truth and once you are grounded in this truth try to do something to put more joy in your life and the life of others. Ask yourself how can I contribute to another person?

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