Thursday, December 15, 2016

BryonySeries Throwback Thursday: Joy vs. Misery

Monday, January 12, 2015

Joy vs. Misery

On New Calendar Christmas morning (December 25) over a cup of coffee, our pastor (who is 82 going on 40) made a comment about how his Christmas wish is for us to always choose joy over misery.

One member of our small church, who has been in therapy for years for depression, said, "Nooo, we're not getting into this."

But Fr. Boris continued," People often don't realize that they have a choice," and then he quoted, "I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life."

(Deuteronomy 30:19)

Then I said, "I think people often don't realize they have a choice because they confuse joy with happiness."

And Fr. Boris looked at me and grinned.

I have a writely friend who calls me an eternal optimist, to which I respond that I simply refuse to be miserable. While it's true that circumstances have occured in life that have, indeed, robbed me of that joy, those circumstances hae never done so without my permission, even if it doesn't feel like it at the time. Once I realize it, my first job, before I work on the problem, is to fix my attitude on the inside. A joyful spirit is a better problem-solver than a miserable one.

Joy is not happiness. And misery is not unhappiness.

Happiness is transitory, an elated feeling when something goes well in our lives or when others connect well with us. The opposite is true about unhappiness. Joy and misery are independent of life circumstances or our relationships.

I once read that if one travels downward in an ocean, one will eventually reach a place of complete serenity, where any turbulance that may be above cannot reach it. I believe all of us have, inside, a similar place we can cultivate, a place of serenity and, yes, joy.

Looking at life through rose-colored glasses is not wise, but neither should we view it through lenses of smoky gray. Rather, I choose spectacles of faith and the confidence they are backed with a guarantee of love from its Maker.

We cannot always choose our circumstances and whether or not so and so likes us. We can not prevent all troubles, all unhappiness. But we can build a strong ship that will sail navigate them.

And these are my Monday morning musings as I embark upon another work week...

No comments: