Kris Severson joins us at Joy in the Small Things as a guest blogger. Enjoy!
“Where do I find joy?” The question is asked.
Initially I thought this would be easy to answer as I could give you my definition for joy, contrast joy to other emotions, and give plenty of illustrations of joy from my faith heritage.
But to answer this personally is to dig deeply in my past where I have experienced pain, confusion, heartache, and despair. In those intense memories I find the emotions clenching my heart, squeezing it in a way that I want to wiggle – no, wrestle – free. Why does my mind go to those memories and not the light and happy? If I still my fear and listen to the lessons learned I will know…
Joy seemed so elusive, only showing up in contrast, or in existence, with suffering. I wanted it independently of the hardships. Yet, joy came to me in my pain with comfort. Joy came to me in my confusion with peace. Joy came to me in my heartache with tenderness. Joy came to me in my despair with hope.
Comfort, peace, tenderness, and hope have often come from people in my life that have come beside me those hard dark times. Their presence was a gift. The gift brought joy.
But yet, the presence of people is not always a source of joy. So, what is it that gave me joy? I have come to know it as the character of their presence. Characteristics I find over and over again in the compassionate one I worship.
Jesus Christ, who is called Emmanuel. God with Us. God with Me.
He is comfort. He is peace. He is tenderness. He is hope. He is the source of gifts that bring joy. He sometimes brings it through the presence of people, but always brings it directly to my soul. Joy finds me in my hard moments, my dark times, even while I still ache. Christ is the persistent glow of the sun which pierces through the storms bringing me shimmering …